Obesity Policy Research


Obesity is a risk factor for various types of cancer and for other chronic diseases and conditions such as type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Obesity prevalence in the United States has risen substantially in the last 50 years, particularly since the early 1980s. Experiences with tobacco control and other public health initiatives suggest that public policy may be a powerful tool to improve diet and physical activity behavior at the population level.

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Obesity Policy Resources

  • Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (C.L.A.S.S.)
    Resource developed by the Behavioral Research Program in NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences to provide policy classification systems for the state physical education and recess and school nutrition environments.
  • Dietary Assessment Research Resources
    Compilation of links to data collection resources, diet analysis resources, and instruments for monitoring the American diet, including EGRP's Dietary Assessment Primer and the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Measures Registry.
  • USDA's Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL)
    The NEL specializes in conducting systematic reviews to inform nutrition policy and programs. The Library evaluates, synthesizes, and grades research using rigorous and transparent methodology to define the state of food and nutrition-related science.

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Funding Opportunities

NCI-sponsored Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) related to dietary assessment include:

  • Time Sensitive Obesity Policy and Program Evaluation – expires September 11, 2021, unless reissued
  • Obesity Policy Evaluation Research - expires May 8, 2019

EGRP joins with other NCI Divisions, Offices, and Centers and other Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund grant applications submitted in response to FOAs. View the full list of EGRP FOAs.

EGRP also encourages investigator-initiated grant applications on topics related to obesity policy research.

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Selected Projects

EGRP's Risk Factor Assessment Branch (RFAB) supports various initiatives in obesity policy research, including:

  • Promoting research on diet and physical activity that may inform policymaking at local, state, or federal levels; and
  • Measurement of the food and physical activity environments.

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Public Resources

  • Obesity and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet
    Fact sheet from NCI summarizing what is known about the relationship between obesity and cancer and describing research supported by NCI on obesity and cancer risk.
  • 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines every 5 years.
  • The Weight of the NationExternal Web Site Policy (video)
    An Emmy-nominated HBO Documentary Films series on obesity that premiered in May 2012. The four-part series — Consequences, Choices, Children in Crisis, and Challenges — highlighted several NIH research advances and addressed the factors contributing to the country's obesity problem.

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Key Publications

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Workshops and Webinars

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For general questions about obesity policy research, EGRP's contact is:

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