Obesity is among the most prevalent, costly and preventable of health problems. African Americans are 15% more likely to suffer from obesity than Whites and 70% of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 are overweight or obese. Obesity also places a disproportionate chronic disease burden on African Americans. Our overall goal is to establish the UAB Obesity Health Disparities Research Center of Excellence (OHDRC) with an ultimate goal of reducing and eliminating disparities in obesity between African Americans and whites. Using Alabama as a model, the OHDRC will support transdisciplinary, multi-level, multi-domain research on obesity- related health disparities to understand the complex contributors to obesity and how they vary at critical periods across the life course and develop interventions to address these contributors. To achieve this goal, we will 1) Conduct innovative interdisciplinary research to understand the complex interactions between biological, behavioral and social factors associated with obesity-related health disparities throughout the life course (two full projects); 2) Partner with the community to inform research and disseminate evidence-based practices designed to result in individual, community and system-level changes to impact obesity-related health disparities. (Academic-Community Engagement and Dissemination Core- ACED); 3) Expand the pipeline of innovative research through an Investigator Development Program of mentored pilot research for early stage investigators. (Investigator Development Core ? IDC); and 4) Establish a coordinated infrastructure to support the proposed research, IDC and ACED Cores by: a) implementing a Common Data Elements and Measurement Shared Resource to be used by OHDRC researchers, b) designing career enhancement activities that focus on transdisciplinary obesity health disparities research to prepare independent investigators (especially those from underrepresented minority groups, in partnership with minority serving institutions) for productive careers, and c) instituting a monitoring and evaluation process to ensure achievement of proposed goals. (Administrative Core). Alabama is particularly well-suited as a setting to pursue these aims. It includes some of the most impoverished rural counties and inner-city communities in the nation and, as we will highlight, Alabamians suffer from some of the highest rates of obesity and from some of the most starkly disproportionate outcomes for obesity-related chronic diseases. If our OHDRC proves successful, we will serve as a model for other states facing similar health disparities.
The Obesity Health Disparities Research Center (OHDRC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham focuses on the theme of Obesity and Obesity-Related Health Disparities across the Life Course. Using the state of Alabama as a model, the overall goal is to reduce the disparities in obesity between African Americans and Whites, thereby reducing other related health disparities. To achieve this, we support transdisciplinary, multi-level, multi-domain research on obesity-related health disparities to understand the complex contributors to obesity and how they vary at critical periods across the life course.
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