Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Impact research related to obesity interventions in black and and other high-risk populations?

How can we increase high-impact obesity and CVD-related intervention research with black and other high risk populations. Specifically, how can the NHLBI and NIH process ensure the generation of more research on solutions to weight issues that is goal-oriented and population-focused, e.g., sets of studies designed to align with a coherent, population-focused research agenda with prioritized questions based on potential impact on the high obesity prevalence in the black populations?.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The high and above-average prevalence of obesity and severe obesity among black children and adults persists, and obesity prevalence is still increasing in some age and gender subgroups in the black population. Current treatments don’t seem to work as well to reduce weight in blacks compared to whites (at least based on studies in adults), although some show promise for reduction of CVD risk factors even with modest weight loss. Preventive interventions are urgently needed but underdeveloped.

 

The context and process of intervening on weight issues differs by cultural and socioeconomic contexts. Yet, research that specifically focuses on approaches that can be effective in black population subgroups in communities at large is sparse; many studies are small, with methodological limitations. Within the overall research effort to address obesity, more studies, better studies, and coordinated studies on black Americans as a high risk sub-population could move the needle. This could be a general need related to high-risk populations who will never be the mainstream research focus and may have different contexts and needs.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

It is feasible to do this if the challenges can be overcome and appropriate funding mechanisms are provided. The typical funding mechanisms focus on investigators rather than on populations and on disconnected R01s. The likelihood that these will add up to tell a coherent story is low. More mechanisms are needed to support coordinated studies planned to have collective impact for the black (or other) population. Other challenges are to improve methodological quality (including design, measurements, and duration), phase studies so that they can build on each other, and standardize process and outcome assessments to improve the ability to synthesize study results.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Shiriki Kumanyika and members/colleagues who are authors of a journal supplement to Obesity Reviews, October 2014

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Idea No. 1001