Clinical Trials for Overweight & Obesity

NIDDK conducts and supports clinical trials in many diseases and conditions, including overweight and obesity. The trials look to find new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease and improve quality of life.

What are clinical trials for overweight and obesity?

Clinical trials—and other types of clinical studies—are part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help health care professionals and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.

Researchers are studying many aspects of overweight and obesity, such as

  • why some people find it harder than other people to maintain weight loss over time
  • new medicines that could help people with obesity lose weight and keep it off
  • different treatments that may prevent weight regain after weight-loss surgery, also called metabolic and bariatric surgery
  • why storing excess fat in some parts of your body—such as in your abdomen, or belly—rather than other parts of your body may increase the risk of developing health problems such as type 2 diabetes
  • how weight-loss surgery may lower long-term health costs for adults with obesity

Find out if clinical studies are right for you.

Watch a video of NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers explaining the importance of participating in clinical trials.

What clinical studies for overweight or obesity are looking for participants?

You can view a filtered list of clinical studies on overweight or obesity that are federally funded, open, and recruiting at You can expand or narrow the list to include clinical studies from industry, universities, and individuals; however, the National Institutes of Health does not review these studies and cannot ensure they are safe. Always talk with your health care provider before you participate in a clinical study.

What have we learned about overweight and obesity from NIDDK-funded research?

NIDDK has supported many research projects to learn more about overweight and obesity.

The Look AHEAD: Action for Health in Diabetes study showed that people who had type 2 diabetes and were overweight or had obesity can lose weight and maintain that weight loss through a program of healthy eating and increased physical activity. The study also showed that weight loss provides other health benefits, such as better physical mobility and improved blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. The trial was extended to study the long-term effects in older adults with type 2 diabetes.

The Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS) study looked at the effects of two types of weight-loss surgery in adults, gastric bypass and adjustable gastric band. LABS found that weight-loss surgery is relatively safe when performed by experienced surgeons. It can also lead to significant weight loss and may improve many weight-related health problems. After 7 years, the average weight loss of patients who had gastric bypass surgery was 84 pounds, or about 28% of their starting weight. The average weight loss of patients who had gastric band surgery was 41 pounds, or about 15% of their starting weight. Because gastric band surgery is less effective than other types of weight-loss surgery, it is not often performed.

Last Reviewed May 2023
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.