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Youfa Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Youfa Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Joint Appointment in Medicine

Research Interests: Nutritional epidemiology; Childhood obesity; Sexual maturation; Chronic disease; Health disparities; Lifestyles; Global health; Analysis of national survey and longitudinal data; Systems science more


Dr. Youfa Wang holds a joint appointment in medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is an adjunct professor of health, behavior and society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research focuses on nutritional epidemiology and childhood obesity.

He received his M.S. from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and an M.D. from Beijing Medical University. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2004.  

Dr. Wang has served on numerous national and international expert/review panels and leadership positions, including over 20 NIH grant review committees. He served as chair of the Nutritional Epidemiology Section of the American Society for Nutrition. He is president of the North America Chinese Society for Nutrition and was appointed chair-elect of the Pediatric Obesity Section of the Obesity Society in 2015. He was recognized by the Peking University Health Science Center as an outstanding alumnus in 2012. 

He is the founding director of the Johns Hopkins Global Center for Childhood Obesity, a Global Center of Excellence on childhood obesity and non-communicable chronic diseases research and training. more


  • Joint Appointment in Medicine

Departments / Divisions



  • M.D., Beijing Medical University (China) (1992)
  • Ph.D., University of Alberta (Canada) (1996)
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) (North Carolina) (2001)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Wang’s main research interests are nutritional epidemiology, child nutrition and growth, childhood obesity (assessment, global trends, causes, health consequences, prevention), chronic diseases, health disparities, lifestyles, global health, analysis of national survey and longitudinal data, and application of systems science-based methodologies in public health research. In particular, his ongoing research aims to understand the complex underlying social, environmental, individual, behavioral and biological causes of the global childhood obesity epidemic, to develop innovative approaches for obesity intervention and to examine the influences of lifestyle factors including diet on risk for chronic diseases. Some of his research is using a combination of innovative epidemiological, statistical and systems science approaches.

His research projects include large cohort studies, school-based interventions, analysis of rich data from multiple sources including large national surveys, and systematic review and meta-analysis. In some of these projects, he is collaborating with researchers in North America, Asia and Europe and with international health organizations such as the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). Most of his ongoing research projects are funded by the NIH.

Selected Publications

Lobstein T, Jackson-Leach R, Moodie ML, Hall KD, Gortmaker SL, Swinburn BA, James WP, Wang Y, McPherson K. "Child and adolescent obesity: Part of a bigger picture." Lancet. 2015 Jun 20;385(9986):2510-20. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61746-3. Epub 2015 Feb 19.

Wang Y, Xue H, Liu S. "Applications of systems science in biomedical research regarding obesity and noncommunicable chronic diseases: Opportunities, promise, and challenges." Adv Nutr. 2015 Jan 15;6(1):88-95. doi: 10.3945/an.114.007203. Print 2015 Jan.

Wang Y, Wu Y, Wilson RF, Bleich S, Cheskin L, Weston C, Showell N, Fawole O, Lau B, Segal J. Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs: Comparative Effectiveness Review and Meta-Analysis [Internet; 835-page report funded by the AHRQ]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ, US); 2013 Jun.

Currie C, Ahluwalia N, Godeau E, Nic Gabhainn S, Due P, Currie DB. "Is obesity at individual and national level associated with lower age at menarche? Evidence from 34 countries in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study." J Adolesc Health. 2012 Jun;50(6):621–6. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.10.254. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Wang Y, Lobstein T. "Worldwide trends in childhood overweight and obesity." Int J Pediatr Obes. 2006;1(1):11-25.

Activities & Honors


  • Invited Participant, Johns Hopkins University Leadership Development Program, 2012
  • Outstanding Alumnus, Peking University Health Science Center, 2012
  • Participant, Dannon Institute Academic Mid-Career Nutrition Leadership Institute, 2010
  • Participant, Dannon Institute Nutrition Leadership Institute, 2005
  • Member, Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, 2001
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