Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Health Behavior Change in Vulnerable Individuals

What knowledge about health behavior change can be leveraged to design innovative and effective strategies for behavior change among the most vulnerable individuals?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Significant health disparities exist in part because primary and secondary prevention strategies are not optimal for particularly vulnerable populations, who often grapple with multiple co-morbidities and low resources. Improving health promotion efforts by targeting health behaviors could help to close the disparity gap.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Many health damaging behaviors, such as smoking, are much more prevalent in certain groups than in the population at large. Multi-level efforts to promote health behavior change have not been optimally effective in these vulnerable groups. We need to build on what we know, understand the gaps, and develop new, culturally sensitive behavior change intervention strategies that will be effective for all groups.

Multi-level strategies to change health-damaging behaviors are effective for some behaviors, but tend to be least effective for the most vulnerable populations. For example, the percentage of people who smoke has decreased dramatically in the last 60 years, but significantly less so for racial and ethnic minorities, those with mental health issues, low income groups, and other vulnerable individuals. These differences contribute to health disparities among these groups, and are in part due to the need for multiple risk reduction and for strategies that are culturally informed.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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58 net votes
80 up votes
22 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Address bias of doctors treating obese patients

Twice I was allowed to develop severe heart failure symptoms that required hospitalization to treat because my primary care physician assumed that my ONLY problem was that I am fat. Every doctor knows that obesity can lead to the development of diabetes, heart diseases, joint damage and yet too many doctors on the frontlines just say: You're fat go diet. My first experience with this was when I was first diagnosed ...more »

Submitted by (@chriscage)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

I'd like to know how many patients die because their primary care doctors don't take their health complains seriously. If you can somehow get primary care doctors to open their eyes and do their jobs, patients like me might not be on the verge of death because their doctors refuse to listen. I had a history of heart failure, I told my primary care doctor that my first doctor completely missed the symptoms in 1996, including swollen ankles and feet, the inability to walk two blocks without stopping and having coughing fits that forced me out of bed into a wing-back chair. I started having those symptoms again in 2011 and ended up spending two and half weeks in a hospital in November 2012 to treat my problems and to drain 96 pounds of fluid from my body. I couldn't bend my legs to get into a car or a truck.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Of course it is possible to deal with this issue. The question is whether doctors and medical researchers are ready to be honest about the role neglect by primary care physicians plays in the overall health of their patients.

 

Both of the doctors who risked my life had good reputations. I liked them until they stopped listening to me. I had an echocardiogram in October 2011 my ejection fraction was between 20 and 15. I thought I was going to die. My doctor said: numbers don't mean anything??? One year later, I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital.

 

Why do you think I'm hopping mad. How many other patients are dealing with the same types of problems. I literally had to take Xanax because when my symptoms returned I was afraid that my stupid doctors would kill me by ignoring me again. I reported my fears in detail to United Healthcare, I switched to a more competent medical system. I'm losing weight and spent hours walking around Yosemite National Park last month. That's the difference between doctors who listen and doctors who don't. A patient should not be afraid that their doctor is so stupid that she or he will kill them .... accidentally.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Mary Crystal Cage

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5 net votes
21 up votes
16 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Sleep and obesity

What characteristics of sleep relate to obesity and does improving sleep using medication help with changes linked to obesity and in the end with weight?

Submitted by (@helenahillmanlaroche)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

We are getting more information that sleep is linked to obesity. Those of us treating obesity also try to address sleep but often need to try medication in those with chronic insomnia. Whether this will help with weight or perhaps make it worse and whether one medication might be better to choose over another are questions that impact medical practice.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Helena Laroche

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27 net votes
36 up votes
9 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Prevention of Obesity

What are the behavioral factors that predispose to excessive weight gain and development of obesity? And, which intervention strategies can effectively prevent excessive weight gain and obesity? NHLBI, other NIH institutes and the society at-large have invested heavily in research and clinical practice aimed at treatment of obesity (i.e, weight loss in those who are already overweight). However, much less research ...more »

Submitted by (@rpate0)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Reducing the prevalence of obesity is one of the great public health challenges of the 21st century. Research should be focused, first and foremost, on prevention, not treatment, of this problem. It seems highly likely that improving the behaviors that can prevent obesity would produce a wide range of important public health benefits.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Two generations ago the prevalence of obesity was much lower than it is today. The prevalence was lower then, not because overweight people were better at losing weight; rather rates were lower because far fewer people became overweight in the first place. It is high time that the scientific community, clinicians, and public health practitioners invested their efforts in prevention first, where there is every reason to believe we could be successful. These efforts should be informed by a robust body of knowledge, and it is recommended that NHLBI lead the effort to expand the body of knowledge on primary prevention of obesity.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Russell Pate

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6 net votes
8 up votes
2 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Weight Loss Maintenance

How can we improve and optimize strategies for weight loss maintenance to make them more effective for more individuals?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

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

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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20 net votes
62 up votes
42 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Promoting health through simultaneous prevention of obesity and eating disorders

How to best promote healthy weight while also not stigmatizing obesity and creating risk for eating disorders (i.e., weight concern and body dissatisfaction) in youth. How to tackle both without contributing in unwitting way to development of either.

Submitted by (@tantillo)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Studies show that diets do not lead to sustained health benefits for the majority of people and several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain. Repeated cycles of losing and gaining weight are linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and altered immune function. Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to the impact of dieting. Several long-term research studies show that girls and boys who use unhealthy weight control practices (including dieting) in early teen years are more likely to become overweight five years later, even if they started out at normal weight. These studies also show that early teen boys and girls who use unhealthy weight control practices are at greater risk for binge eating, use of severe weight control practices ( vomiting, diet pills, laxatives and water pills), and eating disorders compared with adolescents not using weight-control behaviors.

 

Since our culture tends to create weight bias and obesity stigmatization, it is not surprising to see our children become increasingly fearful of becoming “fat.” Weight concern can be experienced by underweight, average weight and overweight children and teens. Studies have shown that body dissatisfaction, especially weight concern (for early teen boys and girls), can lead to overweight, binge eating, severe weight control practices, and eating disorders. Weight teasing by family members and peers can also increase the risk for eating disorders.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Challenges include creating teams of researchers who will collaborate across the two fields. I believe if we could create such teams we could

move both fields ahead with regard to prevention and a focus on health (behaviors that are health promoting), not BMI (a number) or an emphasis on intake.

 

The key to both health problems involves the ecology in which youth are located b/c this ecology influences body image, intake, activity, self regulation and self care.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Mary Tantillo PhD PMHCNS-BC FAED

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62 net votes
116 up votes
54 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Develop common-sense standards for obesity research

Obesity research is riddled with methodological problems that are rarely challenged, leading to the perpetuation of misinformation and interventions that do harm. Given the two-thirds of the population who are classified as higher weight and thus subject to these interventions, it is past time to clean up the basic scientific flaws in this research area. For a quick summary of a couple of these issues, see Poodle Science: ...more »

Submitted by (@dbdb00)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

This subject really is both CG and CC. The CQ aspect is to see past the weight bias and stigma we are all subject to in order to see diversity of weight as normal, even as people across the weight spectrum suffer health insults from sources that are rarely investigated within the medical model (cf social determinants of health). The CC aspect is the enormous economic and cultural pressures to maintain the valuing of some bodies over others in order to sell products and create a group of people who have fewer ways to defend themselves from oppression.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Several key areas could make a big difference and they are quite feasible.

1. Require researchers to have studied weight bias and stigma so they are more aware of their own potential proclivities to frame research questions or results according to the status quo.

2. Require any study that claims a weight loss finding to have, report, and publish followup data on all participants at least 2-5 years post-intervention.

3. Require any study claiming a health issue related to weight to compare not higher and lower weight people, but rather higher weight people who have pursued weight loss and higher weight people who have not, since there is no way for higher weight people to be always-been-thinner.

4. Require weight/health research to control for obvious confounders such as weight cycling, SES, exposure to weight stigma, exposure to weight discrimination, exposure to racism, exposure to stress, lack of access to unbiased medical care, etc.

5. Require that journals allowing statements in the abstract or discussion or conclusions that generalize beyond the data be accountable, and that journals provide an accurate translation of the findings for journalists complete with statements about limitations of findings and possible alternative interpretations.

6. Fund projects which are about listening, especially to people who are rarely asked about their lived experience, in order to generate better research that actually improves quality of life for higher-weight people.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Deb Burgard, PhD

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24 net votes
44 up votes
20 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Natural Experiments and Obesity

How can approaches, such as natural experiments, be used to capture the evolution and impact of policies/environmental change that are related to obesity? There needs to be a mechanism that can quickly support the funding of natural experiment research. For instance, NIDDK and NICHD participate in a rapid response PAR that funds natural experiments in a timely manner. It only takes about 4 months from when the application ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Gaining a better understanding of the impact of natural experiments on obesity would help us better understand how best to translate findings into public health action.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

It is feasible to address the impact of natural experiments and obesity because there are currently naturally experiments taking place and we should capitalize on it.

There are a growing number of policies (e.g., caloric labeling) and environmental changes (e.g., bicycle lanes), being implemented to address obesity. These policy and environmental changes can be seen as natural experiments and should be evaluated. While there are challenges to revaluating real-world implementation of polices/environmental changes, there is the opportunity to increase external validity.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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32 net votes
62 up votes
30 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Nutrition & Reduce Obesity

How can we best encourage and support collaborations between academic researchers and industry partners to test strategies for changing nutritional choices and eating behaviors to healthier patterns that can improve obesity rates? Subquestions include issues around adopting healthier food choices in a variety of environments, effects of diet alteration, the methods and effects of enhancing healthier food flavors, understanding ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

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 food industry is a powerful force in determining the eating patterns of the US population. Given its influence, collaborative efforts between academia and industry to promote healthier eating patterns could have an enormous impact on obesity rates and cardiovascular health over the long-term.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Efforts to forge public-private partnerships in nutrition and obesity research are in formative stages and expected to grow substantially over the next decade, It is timely to take advantage of industry interest in such partnerships to answer questions of interest to academic researchers that can benefit from the resources and expertise brought to bear by industry.

Using public-private partnership models, academic researchers could be encouraged to partner with industry on topics of mutual interest; industry partners could ideally provide “in-kind” resources (e.g., food, spice, or beverage supplies, technical assistance such as food preparation techniques). Collaborative partnerships could also be encouraged between academia, industry, and other key constituents such as the stakeholders in the setting of the research (e.g., worksites, schools and universities). Examples of research focusing on nutritional behaviors and obesity that could be conducted using PPP models include the subquestions listed.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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54 net votes
96 up votes
42 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Obesity and health inequities

What are the most effective weight loss/weight gain prevention strategies for high risk groups?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Effective obesity interventions for high risk groups would help reduce health disparities.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This CQ is feasible because there are significant data that shows that health disparities exist and should be addressed.

Currently two thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese and obesity disproportionately affects individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. To date there have been few, well designed trials that target high risk groups and it is still unclear what are the most effective strategies to prevent obesity and promote weight loss among ethnic minorities and low-income populations. For instance, the prevalence of obesity is highest among Mexican American boys (compared to white and African American boys; Ogden 2014), yet there are few (if any) trials targeting this high risk group.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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73 net votes
113 up votes
40 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

A Systems Approach to Obesity

There is a need to use an integrated systems approach to obesity prevention and treatment. Obesity is a complex phenotype influenced by factors from the molecular to the socio-economic level. To address the causes and prevention of obesity, we need to integrate information at the molecular level with behavioral, social and environmental data. This will require investigators in molecular biology, genetics, epidemiology, ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Addressing this critical challenge will enable scientists and clinicians to move beyond the identification of singular risk factors for obesity to develop a holistic approach to prevention and treatment of this critical health problem.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The molecular technology, environmental monitoring technology, analytic and bioinformatics infrastructure are sufficiently developed to generate the necessary data and analyze disparate data types within the larger systems biology framework.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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97 net votes
138 up votes
41 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Severe obesity prevention in pediatric and community settings

What novel lifestyle and behavioral modification therapies are needed to prevent or treat youth with severe obesity (>99th percentile for BMI) versus those who are overweight?

 

Can we harness ongoing registries such as POWER (Pediatric Obesity Weight Evaluation Registry) in pediatric primary care (PC) settings to implement novel trials that would link PC and community settings to prevent severe obesity in youth?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

A huge impact on obesity prevention in high risk youth. In addition to physiologic and metabolic changes, severely obese youth are stigmatized and bullied more often than those who are overweight. Self-esteem issues are also common among severely obese youth. Reduction of obesity could improve long term cardiovascular risk factors as well as quality of life and future chronic diseases.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This CQ is feasible because there a smaller scale RCTs that are short term and have demonstrable efficacy that could be harnessed. Chronic obstructive sleep apnea is also common in severely obese subjects. Thus this initiative could be across HL divisions.

Severe obesity is prevalent in ~6% of US youth (~ 8% in African American and Hispanic youth). But there is limited research on the effects of lifestyle modification approaches on BMI and CV risk reduction in such youth. Of the limited number of tested lifestyle interventions, results (e.g., adiposity and metabolic) have been modest and not sustained long-term. Most severely obese youth may not qualify for bariatric surgery and questions arise on long-term effects of bariatric surgery in young subjects with severe co-morbidities who might qualify for surgery but may lack the emotional maturity, family support, and motivation.

 

Research to better elucidate the underlying physiological, psychological, and environmental factors associated with severe pediatric obesity are needed. Behavioral trials are needed that intervene on multiple areas of influence (e.g., pediatric care, family, and community) and evaluate traditional and non-traditional outcomes—adiposity, cardiometabolic risk factors including vasculature and function, and inflammatory markers and oxidative stress.

 

There could be challenges in changing behaviors but these could be mitigated with novel and intensive approaches.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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46 net votes
87 up votes
41 down votes
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