Approximately 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese, and nearly 17 percent of children and teens are also obese. Obesity disproportionately affects people from certain racial and ethnic groups and those who are socio-economically challenged.
Individuals who are obese may suffer devastating health problems, face reduced life expectancy, and experience stigma and discrimination. Obesity is a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and many other disorders within the NIDDK’s mission.
NIDDK supports research on the causes and consequences of obesity and potential prevention and treatment strategies. The Institute also provides an evidence base to inform policy decisions. NIDDK-funded researchers are looking at behavioral and environmental approaches for preventing and treating obesity in families, schools, and other community settings. In addition, NIDDK-supported research in biologic processes associated with body weight, from understanding brown fat to identifying hormones and proteins that can trigger weight gain or weight loss, may lead to new prevention and treatment approaches.
The NIDDK also plays a leading role in the NIH Obesity Research Task Force, which sponsors scientific meetings, coordinates research priorities, and contributes to public education initiatives such as the 2012 HBO documentary The Weight of the Nation.
The NIDDK’s Weight-control Information Network (WIN) provides information about obesity, weight control, physical activity and related nutritional issues to the public, health care professionals, and the media. The Network provides online resources, publications, and answers inquiries by phone and email.