U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP)
Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For three decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to: encourage collaborations across communities and sectors; empower individuals toward making informed health decisions; and measure the impact of prevention activities. Healthy People 2020 continues in this tradition with an ambitious, yet achievable, 10-year agenda that includes several topics including physical activity, nutrition, and weight status.
This section provides a selection of resources from the NIH and is not intended to be a comprehensive list.
ClinicalTrials.gov is a web-based resource that provides patients, their family members, health care professionals, researchers, and the public with easy access to information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies. Most of the records in ClinicalTrials.gov describe clinical trials, which are research studies in which human volunteers are assigned to interventions (for example, a medical product, behavior, or procedure) based on a protocol (or plan) and are then evaluated for effects on biomedical or health outcomes. ClinicalTrials.gov maintains information on a variety of studies related to obesity.
At the request of Congress, the NIH embarked on a process to provide better consistency and transparency in the reporting of its funded research. This process, implemented in 2008 through the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) system, uses sophisticated text data mining (categorizing and clustering using words and multiword phrases) in conjunction with NIH-wide definitions used to match projects to categories. The RCDC website provides historical and estimated funding data for a variety of research topics including obesity. To search for funded projects, visit the NIH RePORTER website.
The OEI is an education program, begun in 1991, to help reduce the prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity in order to reduce morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease. Reducing the prevalence of obesity also helps to prevent or improve other diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. The OEI website includes resources on how to Aim for a Healthy Weight (e.g., menu planner, BMI calculator, portion distortion slide set).
Established in 1994, WIN is an information service that provides the general public, health professionals, and the media with up-to-date, science-based information on obesity, weight control, physical activity, and related nutritional issues. WIN also developed Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better, a national program to encourage black women to maintain a healthy weight by becoming more physically active and eating healthier foods.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the NIH have partnered to add the NIH Body Weight Planner to USDA's SuperTracker online tool as a goal-setting resource to help people achieve and stay at a healthy weight. Created in 2011, the SuperTracker tool empowers people to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Users can determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling. With science-based technology drawing on years of research, the Body Weight Planner will enable SuperTracker's more than 5.5 million registered users to tailor their plans to reach a goal weight during a specific timeframe, and maintain that weight afterward. The math model behind the Body Weight Planner, an online tool published by NIH in 2011, was created to accurately forecast how body weight changes when people alter their diet and exercise habits. This capability was validated using data from multiple controlled studies in people. The Planner lets people accurately determine how many calories and how much exercise is needed to meet their personal weight-management goals.
We Can!® is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children ages 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight. The We Can!® national education program provides parents and caregivers with tools, fun activities, and more to help encourage healthy eating, increased physical activity, and reduced time sitting in front of the screen (TV or computer) for the entire family. We Can!® also offers organizations, community groups, and health professionals a centralized resource to promote a healthy weight in youth through community outreach, partnership development, and media activities that can be adapted to meet the needs of diverse populations. Science-based educational programs, support materials, training opportunities, and other resources are available to support programming for youth, parents, and families in the community.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. The NHLBI has developed an online BMI calculator. A user can enter his/her weight and height using standard or metric measures and select "Compute BMI." The resource also provides an explanation of BMI categories, BMI tables, and information on aims for a healthy weight.
Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! is an interactive after-school education program for young people ages 11 to 13. It is designed to help teach this age group about the complex media world around them and how it can affect their health—especially in the areas of nutrition and physical activity. Media-Smart Youth is not a weight loss program, but rather is a health promotion program. It helps young people become critical, creative thinkers. Media-Smart Youth teaches youth to analyze, evaluate, and create media messages—skills that can help them make smart and positive choices about nutrition and physical activity every day.
This exercise and physical activity campaign from the NIA is designed to help seniors fit exercise and physical activity into their daily lives. Motivating older adults to become physically active for the first time, return to exercise after a break in their routines, or build more exercise and physical activity into weekly routines are the essential elements of Go4Life®. The campaign offers exercises, motivational tips, and free resources to help seniors get ready, start exercising, and keep going. The Go4Life® includes an evidence-based exercise guide in both English and Spanish, an exercise video, an interactive website, and a national outreach campaign.
NCI Cancer Topics provide accessible information on various cancers, including risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and coping/management. People who are obese may have an increased risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the breast (in women who have been through menopause), colon, rectum, endometrium (lining of the uterus), esophagus, kidney, pancreas, and gallbladder. Conversely, eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and keeping a healthy weight may help reduce risk of some cancers. These healthy behaviors are also important to lessen the risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. For more information, see the Obesity and Cancer Risk and Physical Activity and Cancer fact sheets.