Research Funding

NIH releases updated strategic plan for obesity research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently released the latest version of its Strategic Plan for NIH Obesity Research. This plan, which updates an earlier version published in 2004, will help to guide funding of new research and research training by NIH institutes and centers over the next several years. 

The plan is organized around these overarching themes: 

  • Discover fundamental biological processes that regulate body weight and influence behavior 

  • Understand the factors that contribute to obesity and its consequences 

  • Design and test new interventions for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight 

  • Evaluate promising strategies for obesity prevention and treatment in real-world settings and diverse populations 

  • Harness technology and tools to advance obesity research and improve healthcare delivery 

  • Facilitate integration of research results into community programs and medical practice

Within each of these themes, the document lays out specific questions for future research. Many of these questions fall within the behavioral and social sciences and related areas of neuroscience and genetics. 

Overall, the plan emphasizes multidisciplinary and translational approaches to research.  It also calls for researchers to focus on population disparities in obesity related to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, and other factors.

The plan was produced by a task force composed of program officials from a majority of NIH institutes, with substantial input from scientists outside of NIH and from scientific and public health organizations.