Obesity and Metabolic Disease FIRG

Leader: Dr. Penny Gordon-Larsen, Associate Professor of Nutrition, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
For information on CEHS community outreach and engagement on obesity, click here. The Obesity and Metabolic Disease FIRG studies how genetics and the built environment influence obesity and metabolic disease. Dr. Penny Gordon-Larsen is collaborating with Dr. Barry Popkin, director of the UNC Nutrition Transition Research Program to study environmental determinants of healthy diet and activity patterns. Their research has demonstrated the importance of neighborhood level street design to support walking and physical activity and the important role of walking and biking in reducing weight and cardiometabolic risk.
Other studies demonstrated the importance of availability of fast food and other restaurants in neighborhoods and the association with diet quality and cardiometabolic risk, as well as the importance of food price in shaping dietary intake.  The latter study suggests that caloric beverage intake is associated with risk for adverse cardiometabolic outcomes. 
Overall, CEHS research suggests that social, physical and economic environment factors are important in shaping diet and activity behaviors as well as weight and cardiometabolic risk outcomes. CEHS researchers also continue to map genes that influence cardiovascular disease risk and identify genetic mutations to determine how genes influence disease susceptibility among populations.


Funded by NIEHS Grant # P30 ES010126