We request renewed funding to continue and expand on the documented success achieved by UAB's Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) in its first three funding cycles. Inaugurated with NIH funding in 2000, our NORC fosters multidisciplinary, collaborative, basic, clinical, and translational nutrition and obesity research. Since it was first funded, the NORC's research base has grown substantially. At its inception in 2000, we had 60 members. By the time of our last renewal in 2011 this number had increased to 134 members; the number today stands at 178 members. In 2000, our members held as PIs 15 R01s or K-awards clearly related to nutrition or obesity. As of this writing in 2016, our members hold as PIs 48 R01s, R00s and K-awards that are clearly related to nutrition or obesity. In the past funding cycle, UAB's NORC has directly helped to recruit over 15 new and established obesity and nutrition investigators. Our publication output has steadily increased in absolute numbers and as a proportion of the world's literature on obesity and nutrition. The impact of NORC publications as judged by NIH?s relative citation ratio consistently exceeds the norm for peer-reviewed literature on obesity and nutrition in general and even for NIH-funded research in particular by a factor of over 50%. Our NORC leadership oversees two NIH-funded T32 training grants for obesity research, has two more training grants in review, and aims to submit a third in the coming funding cycle. Newly initiated in the past funding cycle, our NORC has led a series of national NIH-funded nutrition and obesity-related annual short courses supported by three new R25 grants. Our NORC funds at least four Pilot & Feasibility studies per year, sponsors a Named New Investigator, and implements an extensive Enrichment Program. UAB provides our NORC over $750,000 annually to enhance the NIDDK P30 grant. The NORC?s Metabolism, Animal Models, Physical Activity, and Biostatistics Cores have flourished, resulting in cost-effective research and enhanced access to cutting-edge technology that is heavily utilized by our members. Our primary theme is Obesity: Causes, Consequences, and Alleviation. During the coming cycle, important subdomains within this broad theme will be emphasized. These subdomains include (1) obesity and health disparities among minorities; (2) obesity, diet, weight loss, and exercise among persons with disabilities; (3) obesity, energetics, and aging; (4) transgenerational, developmental, and pediatric aspects; and (5) mathematical/quantitative science approaches. Backed by exceptional institutional support and academic infrastructure, we request renewed funding to continue our contributions to this important area of research.

Public Health Relevance

One's nutritional intake can have profound positive or negative consequences on health. So too does obesity, or excess body fat, have profound effects, usually negative, on health, quality of life, and lifespan. Beyond these broad generalities, however, much remains unknown in these domains, and misinformation and superstition abound. Our center advances knowledge on these critical contributors to health and disease through scientific inquiry that is both rigorous and creative.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1)
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Evans, Mary
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Sch Allied Health Professions
United States
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Wingo, Brooks C; Barry, Valene Garr; Ellis, Amy C et al. (2018) Comparison of segmental body composition estimated by bioelectrical impedance analysis and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Clin Nutr ESPEN 28:141-147
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Brown, Andrew W; Kaiser, Kathryn A; Allison, David B (2018) Issues with data and analyses: Errors, underlying themes, and potential solutions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115:2563-2570

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