U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Obesity

Image of body with brain and digestive system highlightedNearly 40 percent of U.S. adults have obesity, and ​​more than 18 percent of children and teens also have obesity. This condition disproportionately affects people from certain racial and ethnic groups and those who are socio-economically disadvantaged.

Individuals with obesity 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, including behavioral, biomedical, surgical, and environmental approaches in adults and children. This research also provides an evidence base to inform patients, healthcare providers, payers, and policy makers.  NIDDK supports research on the biologic processes associated with body weight regulation, including genetic factors; neural circuits and tissue cross talk; adipocyte (fat cell) biology and the link between obesity and inflammation; the role of the microbiome (gut bacteria and other microbes), sleep and circadian rhythms; and other emerging areas that may lead to new prevention and treatment approaches.

The NIDDK also plays a leading role in the NIH Obesity Research Task Force, which organizes scientific meetings and seminars, engages in strategic planning for NIH obesity research, and promotes and coordinates collaborative research efforts across the NIH.

In addition, NIDDK provides public inquiry response services and health information about weight management to people with obesity and to their families, health professionals, and the public. NIDDK received congressional authorization for the Weight-control Information Network (WIN). WIN provides the general public, health professionals, and the media with science-based, up-to-date, culturally relevant materials and tips.