Why Obesity Matters

No longer just affecting wealthy nations and populations, obesity prevalence has doubled since 1980. In Mexico, South Africa, Egypt, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, about two-thirds of all adults are either overweight or obese. A staggering 2 billion people worldwide that are considered overweight, including approximately 41 million children under the age of 5. Weight problems during any stage of life increase the risk for numerous serious health conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis, and sleep apnea, as well as breast, colon, and endometrial cancers.

Current Research

The Gillings School is home to one of the top-ranked nutrition programs in the United States. Our faculty are national and global leaders in tackling the obesity epidemic.  We work at every level – from genomic research to community design to policy advances. Steven Zeisel, professor of nutrition, co-directs the UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), housed in the Gillings School, one of 12 centers nationally that are funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease with a specific goal of enhancing the productivity and impact of obesity and nutrition research.

Additional Research in the Field of Obesity

Aggressive breast cancer grows faster in obese environment

NIH extends funding for Nutrition Obesity Research Center through second decade

Studies examine positive impact of weight loss upon cancer risk

Study finds no evidence that phthalates are responsible for increased childhood obesity

Replacing just one sugar-sweetened beverage a day with water can prevent weight gain

Metabolic reprogramming of white blood cells controls inflammation in fat


Highlighted Leaders in the Field