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Obesity Research

During the past 20 years, obesity among adults has risen significantly in the United States. The latest data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 30 percent of U.S. adults 20 years of age and older—over 60 million people—are obese. This increase is not limited to adults. The percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. Among children and teens aged 6–19 years, 16 percent (over 9 million young people) are considered overweight. These increasing rates raise concern because of their implications for Americans’ health. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including the following: 1) Hypertension; 2) Dyslipidemia; 3) Type 2 diabetes; 4) Coronary heart disease ; 4) Stroke; 5) Gallbladder disease; 6) Osteoarthritis; 7) Sleep apnea and respiratory problems; and 8) Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). 

Although one of the national health objectives for the year 2010 is to reduce the prevalence of obesity among adults to less than 15 percent, current data indicate that the situation is worsening rather than improving. Hopkins GIM faculty members are investigating and combating the obesity epidemic across the full range of its natural history, using a variety of research approaches.

Information about the faculty working in this research area and their projects is provided below.

Lawrence Appel, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and International Health 
Director, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research Interests: Prevention of blood pressure-related cardiovascular and kidney diseases through pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches, often nutrition-based     
To see publication abstracts: 
PubMed

Diane M. Becker, MPH, ScD
Professor of Medicine and Health Policy and Management
Director, Center for Family Studies in Cardiovascular Disease
Research Interests: Genetic epidemiology, health disparities, primary prevention, behavioral sciences, research design
To see publication abstracts:
PubMed

Wendy Bennett, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Joint appointment: Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, JHBSPH
Research interests: Obesity and pregnancy
To see publication abstracts: PubMed  

Jeanne M. Clark, MD, MPH, FACP
Frederick Brancati, MD Professor of Medicine
Joint Appointment in Epidemiology
Director, Division of General Internal Medicine
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Co-Principal Investigator, JHU site of the Look AHEAD Study
Research Interests: Fatty liver disease, bariatric surgery
To see publication abstracts:
PubMed

Gail Daumit, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research Interests: Obesity and mental illness
To see publication abstracts:
PubMed

Kimberly Gudzune, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research interests: Weight-loss interventions
To see publication abstracts: PubMed

Felicia Hill-Briggs, PhD, ABPP
Associate Professor of Medicine
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research Interests: Behavioral medicine
To see publication abstracts:
PubMed      

Mariana Lazo, MD, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research interests: Fatty liver disease, longitudinal studies, risk prediction
To see publication abstracts: PubMed

Nisa Maruthur, MD, MHS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Co-Director, GIM Fellowship Program
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research interests: Individualized medicine for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity, pharmacogenomics of type 2 diabetes, comparative effectiveness
To see publication abstracts: PubMed    

Dhananjay (Jay) Vaidya, MBBS, PhD, MPH 
Associate Professor of Medicine
Research Interests: Statistics, vascular properties, gender differences and hormonal influences, randomized clinical trials  
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

H.C. (Jessica) Yeh, PhD 
Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research 

Research Interests: Methods in epidemiology and controlled trials, clinical research mentorship, diabetes and novel complications, obesity
To see publication abstracts: PubMed

J. Hunter Young, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Core Faculty,
Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Research Interests: Obesity and high blood pressure
To see publication abstracts: 
PubMed


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