Obesity in other countries

Are We as Fat as We Think?

In the last 33 years, not a single country has made serious progress in the fight against obesity. While in 1980, 857 million people worldwide were overweight or obese, by 2013 that number had more than doubled. Today, nearly one third of all living people — a whopping 2.1 billion — are either overweight or obese. These stats, including the graphics, come from a new analysis of 1,749 published studies on weight from around the world, published in the Lancet in May.

The analysis showed that the United States is home to the highest number of overweight and obese people in the world. In the U.S., 70.9 percent of men and 61.9 percent of women are overweight or obese, compared to 38 percent of men and 36.9 percent of women worldwide. Our waistlines start growing early — 28.8 percent of boys and 29.7 percent of girls are overweight or obese in the U.S., compared to 14.2 percent of boys and 14.7 percent of girls worldwide.

RELATED: How to Lose 20 Pounds

While we have the most overweight citizens in terms of sheer numbers, a few other countries actually have higher rates of obesity, including Egypt, Qatar and Samoa. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of all the obese people in the world live in developing countries as of 2013. That sounds like a lot, but that’s largely a symptom of how many more people live in the developing world, rather than a hopeful indicator that citizens of developed countries are losing weight.

The researchers behind the analysis attribute the ballooning in overweight and obesity levels to increased calorie consumption, decreased exercise, and potential changes to the gut’s microbiome. Their research didn’t look to explain the causes, but they summarized their findings by writing that “increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity have been substantial, widespread, and have arisen over a short time.”

Perhaps most frighteningly, the study shows that being overweight or obese caused 3.4 million deaths worldwide in 2010, accounting for 3.9 percent of years of life lost and 3.8 percent of disability-adjusted life-years. In comparison, 7.4 million people died of ischaemic heart disease in 2012, the leading cause of death, according to the World Health Organization, and 1.5 million died of HIV/AIDS. Hopefully these stats, putting obesity as a leading cause of death, will motivate individuals and countries to put in a stronger effort in trying to lose weight.

RELATED: Jennifer Hudson’s Weight Loss Secrets

The U.S. is the most obese nation in the world, just ahead of Mexico

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fattest country in the world? Ouch.

The obesity rate for American adults (aged 15 and over) came in at a whopping 38.2%, which puts the birthplace of the hamburger and the Cronut at the top of the heftiest-nations-in-the-world rankings, according to an updated survey from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Running at a not-too-close second is border pal Mexico, with 32.4% of population considered obese, followed by New Zealand, Hungary and Australia (the U.K. comes in at No. 6). The skinniest nations are Japan, with a tiny 3.7% of the population tipping the scales, followed by India, Korea, Indonesia and China. And across much of Europe, less than 20% of the population can be considered obese, according to the survey that was released Thursday.

Here’s a visual on those statistics:

OECD — OECD ➡️ Better policies for better lives (@OECD) May 18, 2017

In most countries, the OECD has found that women are more obese than men, though obesity rates for the male population are growing rapidly. Education is a determinant as the organization found that less schooling makes a woman two to three times more likely to be overweight than the more educated in about half of the eight countries for which the data was available:

OECD

And the OECD has found that obese people have poorer job prospects than their slimmer counterparts, earning about 10% less, and are then less productive at work, with fewer worked hours and more sick days.

Read: Adding calorie counts on menus might make Americans eat better — but not in the way you’d think

Growing problem with obese children: As for children, the rate is about one in six in the OECD area.

The organization reported that 31% of American 15-year olds self-reported as overweight, though the most recent data is from 2013-14. Canadian, Greek, Icelandic and Slovenian teens made up the rest of that top five. At the low end, just 10% of Danish teens consider themselves overweight. The OECD said the number of 15-year olds who self-report as overweight has steadily risen since 2000 even as countries put policies in place to fight it.

Meanwhile, a broader sampling of 3 to 17-year olds shows that obesity trends have been rising for boys and girls in the U.K., and boys in the U.S.:

OECD

The future is fatter: Perhaps even more disturbing is the glimpse that the OECD offers into the coming years. As the below graph shows, obesity rates are expected to increase until at least 2030, led by the U.S., Mexico and England, where 47%, 39% and 35% of the population are expected to be obese by 2030.

As for solutions, the OECD suggest food labeling, and offered praise for health promotion campaigns across Facebook and Twitter, or dedicated mobile apps that have been shown to have the potential to help with weight loss and body fat. As one survey showed this week, obesity puts individuals at risk from related illnesses — diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and more. In other words, you can’t be fat and healthy at the same time.

Read: One Brit discovers why Americans are so fat

And where humans go, sometimes animals follow. Wildlife officials in Thailand were forced to put a macaque money nicknamed “Uncle Fat” on a diet after he would regularly feast on sugary drinks and junk food left by tourists, the Associated Press reported Friday.

His weight, which should have averaged around 20 pounds, soared to 60 pounds, with sad photos circulating on the internet showing his giant tummy, which had become a benign mass.

“He had minions and other monkeys bringing food for him but he would also redistribute it to younger monkeys,” said Supakarn Kaewchot, a vet charged with helping the monkey slim down, told the AP. “He is now in a critical condition where there is a high-risk of heart disease and diabetes.”

Barbara Kollmeyer

Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @bkollmeyer.

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POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS FOR THE U.S. HEALTH DISADVANTAGE

The panel’s search for potential explanations revealed that important antecedents of good health—such as the quality of health care and the prevalence of health-related behaviors—are also frequently problematic in the United States. For example, the U.S. health system is highly fragmented, with limited public health and primary care resources and a large uninsured population. Compared with people in other countries, Americans are more likely to find care inaccessible or unaffordable and to report lapses in the quality and safety of care outside of hospitals.

In terms of individual behaviors, Americans are less likely to smoke and may drink less heavily than their counterparts in peer countries, but they consume the most calories per capita, abuse more prescription and illicit drugs, are less likely to fasten seatbelts, have more traffic accidents involving alcohol, and own more firearms than their peers in other countries. U.S. adolescents seem to become sexually active at an earlier age, have more sexual partners, and are less likely to practice safe sex than adolescents in other high-income countries.

Adverse social and economic conditions also matter greatly to health and affect a large segment of the U.S. population. Despite its large and powerful economy, the United States has higher rates of poverty and income inequality than most high-income countries. U.S. children are more likely than children in peer countries to grow up in poverty, and the proportion of today’s children who will improve their socioeconomic position and earn more than their parents is smaller than in many other high-income countries. In addition, although the United States was once the world leader in education, students in many countries now outperform U.S. students. Finally, Americans have less access to the kinds of “safety net” programs that help buffer the effects of adverse economic and social conditions in other countries.

Although all of these differences are compelling and important, no single factor fully explains the U.S. health disadvantage, for example:

  • Problems with the health care system might exacerbate illnesses and heighten mortality from certain diseases but cannot account for transportation-related accidents or violence.
  • Individual behaviors may contribute to the overall disadvantage, but studies show that even Americans with healthy behaviors, for example, those who are not obese or do not smoke, appear to have higher disease rates than their peers in other countries.
  • The problem is not confined to socially or economically disadvantaged Americans; as noted above, several recent studies have suggested that even Americans with high socioeconomic status may experience poorer health than their counterparts in peer countries.

Many conditions that might explain the U.S. health disadvantage—from individual behaviors to systems of care—are also influenced by the physical and social environment in U.S. communities. For example, built environments that are designed for automobiles rather than pedestrians discourage physical activity. Patterns of food consumption are also shaped by environmental factors, such as actions by the agricultural and food industries, grocery store and restaurant offerings, and marketing. U.S. adolescents may use fewer contraceptives because they are less available than in other countries. Similarly, more Americans may die from violence because firearms, which are highly lethal, are more available in the United States than in peer countries. A stressful environment may promote substance abuse, physical illness, criminal behavior, and family violence. Asthma rates may be higher because of unhealthy housing and polluted air. In the absence of other transportation options, greater reliance on automobiles in the United States may be causing higher traffic fatalities. And when motorists do take to the road, injuries and fatalities may be more common if drunk driving, speeding, and seatbelt laws are less rigorously enforced, or if roads and vehicles are more poorly designed and maintained.

The U.S. health disadvantage probably has multiple explanations, some of which may be causally interconnected, such as unemployment and a lack of health insurance. Other explanations may share antecedents, especially those rooted in social inequality. Still others may have no obvious relationship, as in the very distinct causes of high rates of obesity and traffic fatalities. The relationships between some factors may develop over time, or even over a person’s entire life course, as when poor social conditions during childhood precipitate a chain of adverse life events. Turmoil and risk-taking in adolescence can lead to subsequent setbacks in education or employment, fomenting life-long financial instability or other stresses that inhibit healthy life-styles or access to health care. In some cases, the explanation may simply be that the United States is at the leading edge of global trends that other high-income countries will follow, such as smoking and obesity.

Given the pervasive nature of the low U.S. rankings—on measures of health, access to care, individual behaviors, child poverty, and social mobility—the panel considered the possibility that a common thread might link the multiple domains of the U.S. health disadvantage. Might certain aspects of life in modern America—including some of the choices that American society is making (knowingly or not)—be part of the explanation for the U.S. health disadvantage? There are no definitive studies on this subject, but the public health literature certainly documents the health benefits of strengthening systems for health and social services, education, and employment; promoting healthy life-styles; and designing healthier environments. These functions are not solely the province of government: effective policies in both the public and private sector can create incentives to encourage individuals and industries to adopt practices that protect and promote health and safety. In countries with the most favorable health outcomes, resource investments and infrastructure often reflect a strong societal commitment to the health and welfare of the entire population.

Because choices about political governance structures, and the social and economic conditions they reflect and shape, matter to overall levels of health, the panel asked whether some of these underlying societal factors could be contributing to greater disease and injury rates and shorter lives in the United States. And might these choices also explain the inability of the United States to keep pace with peer countries in other important health-related domains, such as education and child poverty? These are important questions for which further research is needed. It will also be important for Americans to engage in a thoughtful discussion about what investments and compromises they are willing to make to keep pace with health advances other countries are achieving. Before this can occur, the public must first be informed about the country’s growing health disadvantage, a problem that may come as a surprise to many Americans.

In both rural and urban settings, rates of adult obesity, and especially severe obesity, increased significantly from 2001 to 2016, but that trend was not apparent in children.

Among children, Hispanics had the highest rates — 23.6 percent were obese, compared with 20.4 percent for blacks and 14.7 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

Childhood obesity increased as the level of education of the head of household declined, ranging from 22.3 percent in households headed by people with a high school diploma or grade school education to 18.1 percent in those led by people with some college, to 11.6 percent in families headed by college graduates.

There was no significant difference in obesity rates in children living in urban or rural regions, but severe obesity was significantly higher in rural areas — 9.4 percent, compared with 5.1 percent in cities with populations greater than a million.

“We looked at a few variables,” Dr. Ogden said “but there were a lot of things we couldn’t account for.” Many other urban-rural differences in health have been reported, including differences in the prevalence of various conditions and diseases and disparities in the availability and quality of health care services.

Still, Dr. Ogden said, “The basic differences in demographics between rural and urban regions do not explain these differences in obesity rates. We need to look into this more to understand it better.”

Why are Americans Obese?

To understand the true size of the American obesity epidemic, we first need to understand what it really means to be overweight. Generally, doctors and nutritionists classify people as either underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. These different classifications are determined by body mass index (BMI), or a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. To get a basic idea, this chart from the CDC approximates what that means for someone who is 5’9″ tall.

CDC approximates for BMI.

Height Weight Range BMI Considered
Source: CDC
5′ 9″ 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight
125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese

As for what is driving America’s chronic weight problem, there are no definite answers. Scientific studies often reach conflicting conclusions, meaning many theories are out there, but the preponderance of evidence points to the two causes most people already suspect: too much food and too little exercise.

Bigger Portions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American ate almost 20% more calories in the year 2000 than they did in 1983, thanks, in part, to a boom in meat consumption. Today, each American puts away an average of 195lbs of meat every year, compared to just 138lbs in the 1950’s. Consumption of added fats also shot up by around two thirds over the same period, and grain consumption rose 45% since 1970.

Research published by the World Health Organization found that a rise in fast food sales correlated to a rise in body mass index, and Americans are notorious for their fast-food consumption ― such food makes up about 11% of the average American diet. Another study demonstrates the full effect added sugars from soda and energy drinks are wreaking havoc on American waistlines. So it is not just how much we eat, but what we eat.

Confusing “Diet” for “Nutrition”

The role of diet in the U.S. obesity epidemic is obviously major, but it’s also complex. Consumers are sent wildly mixed messages when it comes to what to eat and how much. One one hand, larger portions, processed packaged food, and drive-thru meals are branded as almost classically American — fast, cheap, filling and delicious. On the other hand, we spend over $20 billion annually on weight loss schemes, from diet books and pills all the way up to last-resort surgeries like lap-bands and liposuction. It’s no wonder we’re looking for fast food and fast weight loss options, we spend more time at work and less time in our homes and kitchens than our parents did. Sometimes you only have time to pack a leftover pizza slice and a slim-fast for lunch, irony be damned.

This schizophrenic relationship with food is easy to explain in terms of marketing schemes. As decades of soda and tv dinners caught up with our waistlines, the U.S. diet industry grew bigger, faster and smarter. Since the 1970s, popular nutrition wisdom and fad diets have flamed in and out just as quickly as the Arch Deluxe or the McRib. In the 1990s, our big enemy was fat. Low-fat and fat-free products flew off supermarket shelves. It took us decades to learn that when something is fat-free and full-flavored, it’s probably too good to be true.

As it turns out, most food companies were just swapping hydrogenated oils and sugar in for the animal fats they removed from low-fat products. Hydrogenated oils are restructured vegetable oils that carry high levels of trans-fats, an amazingly evil type of fat that can raise your bad cholesterol, lower your good cholesterol and increase your risks of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes. While somewhat less sinister, added sugar can also wreak major damage on a diet. Technically low in calories, high-quantities of sugar disrupts our metabolisms, causing surges in insulin and energy levels and ultimately contributing to weight gain and diabetes.

Inactivity is the New Normal

Lack of exercise is also a major culprit in the obesity epidemic. It’s been decades since most Americans worked in fields and on factory floors, a far greater majority of us are sitting throughout our workday. This means less exercise each day. According to one study, only 20% of today’s jobs require at least moderate physical activity, as opposed to 50% of jobs in 1960. Other research suggests Americans burn 120 to 140 fewer calories a day than they did 50 years ago. Add this to the higher amount of calories we are packing in, and we get a perfect recipe for weight gain.

But lethargy goes well beyond the workplace. It is also how we get to work and what we do after. Americans walk less than people in any other industrialized country, preferring to sit in cars to get around. And at the end of the day, 80% of Americans don’t get enough exercise, according to the CDC.

A number of other factors are thought to play a role in the obesity epidemic, such as the in utero effects of smoking and excessive weight gain in pregnant mothers. Poor sleep, stress, and lower rates of breastfeeding are also thought to contribute to a child’s long term obesity risk. Of course, these factors are not explicit or solitary causes of obesity, but they are reliable indicators of the kinds of systemic healthcare failures contributing to this crisis.

In the end, though, we can’t lose sight of the big picture. Over the past years, diet fads have come and gone, with people rushing to blame red meat, dairy, wheat, fat, sugar, etc. for making them fat, but in reality, the problem is much simpler. Genetics and age do strongly influence metabolism, but as the CDC points out, weight gain and loss is primarily a formula of total calories consumed versus total calories used.

Data & Statistics

  • Diabetes | County Data Indicators
    County level data for select diabetes indicators, including leisure-time physical inactivity, and overweight or obesity prevalence.
  • Diabetes| County Ranks of Prevalence
    County level ranking data for select diabetes indicators, including leisure-time physical inactivity, and overweight or obesity prevalence.
  • Community Health Status Indicators to Combat Obesity, Heart Disease and Cancerexternal icon
    This dataset contains over 200 key health indicators for each of the 3,141 United States counties, to improve community health.
  • County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin)external icon
    The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including obesity prevalence, physical inactivity, access to healthy foods, and access to opportunities for physical activity in nearly every county in America. The data comes from CDC surveillance systems like the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the National Center for Health Statistics, and other federal data sources.

How U.S. Obesity Compares With Other Countries

The high immediate cost of these information and prevention campaigns, combined with the long lag-time for the benefits to impact health expenditures, have encouraged governments to use economic incentives. In 2011, Denmark introduced a tax on foods containing more than 2.3 percent saturated fats (meat, cheese, butter, edible oils, margarine, spreads, snacks, etc.). A year later, the tax was repealed after complaints that it was damaging small businesses and increasing cross-border shopping.

Other countries, other schemes: Hungary introduced a tax on selected manufactured foods high in sugar, salt or caffeine. In Finland, a tax on confectionery products did not include biscuits, buns and pastries. And for the past year, France has been taxing soft drinks.

Governments can use the extra revenue generated by these taxes to lessen the impact on low-income households or to increase the public health benefits, for example by coupling them with targeted health education campaigns or subsidies on healthy foods. In France and Hungary, at least part of the revenues from the new taxes will contribute to financing health and social security expenditures.

But taxing food is politically controversial and usually incurs strong opposition from the food industry. In addition, tax on food is far lower than on tobacco and alcohol — also major killers. The biggest obstacle to the success of such programs might be the reluctance of many citizens to allow their governments to tell them what to eat.

What is your recipe for a better life? Good health, clean air, nice home, money? Using OECD’s “Better Life Index” tool, rank what you value in life — and see how your country measures up on the topics most important to you.

Franco Sassi is a leading economist for prevention policies at OECD. Top photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Overweight & Obesity Statistics

On this page:

  • Defining Overweight and Obesity
  • Using Body Mass Index (BMI) to Estimate Overweight and Obesity
  • Causes and Health Consequences of Overweight and Obesity
  • Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity
  • Trends in Overweight and Obesity among Adults and Youth in the US
  • Clinical Trials

This content describes the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States.

Defining Overweight and Obesity

A person whose weight is higher than what is considered as a normal weight adjusted for height is described as being overweight or having obesity.1

Fast Facts

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2013–20142,3,4,5

  • More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight.
  • More than 2 in 3 adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults were considered to have obesity.
  • About 1 in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • About 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 were considered to have obesity.

Using Body Mass Index (BMI) to Estimate Overweight and Obesity

BMI is the tool most commonly used to estimate and screen for overweight and obesity in adults and children. BMI is defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. For most people, BMI is related to the amount of fat in their bodies, which can raise the risk of many health problems. A health care professional can determine if a person’s health may be at risk because of his or her weight.

The tables below show BMI ranges for overweight and obesity.

Adults

BMI of Adults Ages 20 and Older
BMI Classification
18.5 to 24.9 Normal weight
25 to 29.9 Overweight
30+ Obesity (including extreme obesity)
40+ Extreme obesity

An online tool for gauging the BMIs of adults can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov

Children and Adolescents

BMI of Children and Adolescents Ages 2 to 19
BMI Classification
At or above the 85th percentile on the CDC growth charts Overweight or obesity
At or above the 95th percentile on the CDC growth charts Obesity (including extreme obesity)
At or above 120 percent of the 95th percentile on the CDC growth charts Extreme obesity

Children grow at different rates at different times, so it is not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. The CDC BMI growth charts are used to compare a child’s BMI with other children of the same sex and age. It is important that a child’s health care provider evaluates a child’s BMI, growth, and potential health risks due to excess body weight. An online tool for gauging the BMIs of children and teens can be found at: https://nccd.cdc.gov/dnpabmi/Calculator.aspx

Causes and Health Consequences of Overweight and Obesity

Factors that may contribute to weight gain among adults and youth include genes, eating habits, physical inactivity, TV, computer, phone, and other screen time, sleep habits, medical conditions or medications, and where and how people live, including their access to healthy foods and safe places to be active.1,6

Overweight and obesity are risk factors for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, and gallstones, among other conditions.1,6,7

For more information on the causes and health consequences of overweight and obesity, please visit NIDDK’’s webpages on Understanding Adult Overweight and Obesity.

Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity

The data presented on prevalence are from the 2013–2014 NHANES survey of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) unless noted otherwise. NCHS is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2,3,4,5

Adults

Estimated (Age-Adjusted) Percentage of US Adults with Overweight and Obesity by Sex, 2013–2014 NHANES Data

As shown in the above table

  • More than 2 in 3 adults (70.2 percent) were considered to be overweight or have obesity
  • About 1 in 3 adults (32.5 percent) were considered to be overweight
  • More than 1 in 3 adults (37.7 percent) were considered to have obesity
  • About 1 in 13 adults (7.7 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity
  • More than 1 in 3 (38.7 percent) of men, and about 1 in 4 (26.5 percent) of women were considered to be overweight
  • Obesity was higher in women (about 40 percent) than men (35 percent)
  • Extreme obesity was higher in women (9.9 percent) than men (5.5 percent)
  • Almost 3 in 4 men (73.7 percent) were considered to be overweight or have obesity; and about 2 in 3 women (66.9) were considered to be overweight or have obesity.

As shown in the above bar graph

  • Among non-Hispanic white adults, more than 1 in 3 (36.4 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 13 (7.6 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among non-Hispanic black adults, almost half (48.4 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 8 (12.4 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among Hispanic adults, about 1 in 2 (42.6 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 14 (7.1 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among non-Hispanic Asian adults, about 1 in 8 (12.6 percent) were considered to have obesity.

According to the above bar graph

  • Among children and adolescents ages 2 to 19, about 1 in 6 (17.2 percent) were considered to have obesity, about 1 in 17 (6 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Young children ages 2 to 5 had a lower prevalence of obesity than older youth, about 1 in 11 (9.4 percent). Less than 2 percent of young children were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among children and youth ages 6 to 11, about 1 in 6 (17.4 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 23 (4.3 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.
  • Among adolescents, ages 12 to 19, about 1 in 5 (20.6 percent) were considered to have obesity, and about 1 in 11 (9.1 percent) were considered to have extreme obesity.

Estimated Percentage of US Youth with Obesity by Age Group, Sex and Race/Ethnicity,
Ages 2–19, 2011–2014 NHANES Data3

Trends in Overweight and Obesity among Adults and Youth in the US

Changes over Time–Adults2,4

  • The prevalence of obesity increased significantly among adult men and women between 1980- 2000.
  • More recently, between 2005- 2014, the prevalence of overall obesity and extreme obesity increased significantly among women, however, there were no significant increases for men.

Changes over Time–Children and Adolescents3,5

  • The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents 2 to 19 years increased between 1988-1994 and 2003-2004. Since this time there has been no significant change in prevalence.
  • Among children ages 2 to 5, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988-1994 and 2003-2004 and then decreased.
  • Among children ages 6 to 11, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988-1994 and 2007-2008, and then did not change.
  • Among adolescents, ages 12 to 19, the prevalence of obesity increased between 1988-1994 and 2013-2014.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

What are clinical trials, and are they right for you?

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.

What clinical trials are open?

Clinical trials that are currently open and recruiting can be viewed at www.ClinicalTrials.gov.

Resources

Additional Reading from the NIDDK

  • Weight Management: information from NIDDK about overweight and obesity, healthy eating, and physical activity
  • Diet and Nutrition: additional information from NIDDK about healthy eating

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