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NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination

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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Since its creation in 1950, the NIDDK research responsibilities have included nutrition-related programs to prevent and treat disorders such as liver and biliary diseases; pancreatic diseases; gastrointestinal, digestion, and absorption disorders; diabetes; obesity; a variety of endocrine disorders; kidney and urological diseases; metabolic diseases, including cystic fibrosis; and eating disorders. The NIDDK plays an important role in the study of nutritional factors relating to the etiology, prevention, and treatment of diabetes and digestive and kidney diseases. This research is supported by three divisions: the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases; the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition; and the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases.

Nutrition research training in the areas of nutrient metabolism, obesity, and energy regulation has been encouraged. NIDDK training and career development (F, T, and K funding mechanisms) are described in more detail at the following website:

The NIDDK Clinical Obesity Research Panel (CORP) is the successor to the National Task Force on Prevention and Treatment of Obesity, which was in existence from June 1991 until June 2003. The NIDDK CORP, composed of leading obesity researchers and clinicians, is charged with providing advice to the NIDDK Advisory Council on important clinical research needs related to obesity prevention and treatment, including their relative priority and costs, and identifies concepts for future clinical studies of obesity. The CORP serves in an advisory capacity to the Weight-control Information Network and may suggest topics for NIDDK-sponsored workshops and develop papers on topics related to clinical aspects of obesity. The CORP is placed organizationally under the auspices of the NIDDK Advisory Council and a member of the NIDDK Advisory Council serves on the CORP as a liaison member.

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is an information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). WIN was established in 1994 to provide the general public, health professionals, the media, and Congress with up-to-date, science-based information on obesity, weight control, physical activity, and related nutritional issues.

WIN produces, collects, and disseminates materials on obesity, weight control, and nutrition. Win provides:

  • Publications, including fact sheets, and brochures.
  • NIDDK’s Clinical Weight Loss and Control Lecture Series videos.
  • Information on Nutrition Obesity Research Centers (NORCs).
  • WIN Notes, an electronic newsletter for health professionals featuring the latest information from NIDDK and other organizations on obesity, weight control, and related nutritional topics. WIN Notes also reports on activities of the NIDDK-sponsored Clinical Obesity Research Panel (CORP).
  • Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better, WIN's national initiative to encourage Black women to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Additional resources.

Research Directions

The NIDDK fosters and supports other nutrition research and training in a number of areas of basic and clinical nutrition including:

  • Research on dietary requirements (and safe levels) of many nutrients needed for health maintenance, proper growth and development, and a state of well-being at all ages and under various conditions, such as stress, drug use, nutrient imbalances, and changing activity levels.
  • Fundamental studies exploring nutritional factors that are active in absorption, transport and metabolism, the biological control of such processes, and the identification of unrecognized roles of nutrients or their metabolites.
  • Research on dietary fiber to determine its chemical characteristics in order to determine its effects on intestinal microflora and food transit time; its interaction with nutrients, bile acids, and other substances in the gut; its effects on digestive enzymes and absorption; and the development of improved routine methods for analyzing its components.
  • Assessment of the requirement levels and metabolic roles of trace elements, with the help of reliable, newly developed analytical methods.
  • Research on relationships between genetic predisposition, induced metabolic changes, thermogenesis, environmental and physiological factors, behavioral and lifestyle factors that result in obesity.
  • Research on the social, cultural, psychological, economic, environmental and other determinants that influence eating patterns and dietary intake.
  • Clinical trials investigating approaches to prevent or treat obesity.
  • Research to evaluate environmental and policy interventions to promote healthy eating.
  • Studies to evaluate the role of various interventions such as liquid meal replacements, or the role of non-caloric beverages, in weight loss and maintenance.
  • Studies of the mechanism and efficacy of pharmacologic agents on energy balance and weight control.
  • Determination of the most effective individual, group, and community intervention strategies for weight management.
  • Investigation into the contribution of genetic and metabolic factors to obesity causation, including the molecular and genetic basis of energy metabolism and the nature of genetic factors associated with human obesity research to improve nutritional support to hospitalized patients, to improve nutritional status assessment methodology, and to acquire more information about the effects of disease states on the nutritional needs of patients.
  • Investigation of dietary modifications that may retard the rate of progression of end-stage renal disease, reduce the need for dialysis, or both.
  • Investigation of the mechanisms by which nutrients might affect renal function.
  • Studies of the causes of wasting malnutrition and other nutritional disorders that occur in renal failure.
  • Research on the interplay of dietary factors (such as calcium, vitamin D, phosphate, protein, and oxalate) in the etiology of renal stones.
  • Studies on hormones that regulate bone metabolism, nutrition and nutrient metabolism and the maintenance of calcium balance, especially as related to osteoporosis and related bone disorders.
  • Studies of nutrients (and nutrient absorption) that influence bone metabolism.
  • Studies to elucidate the endocrine and metabolic basis of wasting in HIV infection and other chronic diseases.
  • Studies to elucidate the molecular basis for the metabolic and body composition changes seen in HIV infection and/or treatment.
  • Exploration of mechanisms for the development of gastrointestinal malabsorption in patients with HIV infection and investigations of other metabolic perturbations of nutrient metabolism, such as lipogenesis, to develop rational means of nutritional support of these patients.
  • Regulation of muscle mass and nitrogen balance in HIV infection.
  • Studies on the role of calorie intake and physical activity, and subsequent weight control, in the prevention of type II diabetes.
  • Investigation of the metabolic mechanisms of intestinal and hepatic processing of dietary carbohydrate and the effects of other nutrients and of fiber on carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Studies on the role of nutrients in gene regulation and expression.
  • Investigation of the effects of nutrient antioxidants in normal and abnormal cellular function and metabolism.
  • Clinical research into nutrition-related areas such as cholesterol and pigment gallstones; inborn errors in bile acid metabolism; chronic hepatitis that evolves from autoimmune, viral, or alcoholic disease; and various liver diseases, such as Wilson's disease and portal hypertension.
  • Investigations into the control of appetite and satiety in animals and humans.
  • Funding of multiple Nutrition/Obesity Research Centers (NORCs), each conducting an intensive program of nutrition research.
  • Large multi-site clinical trials investigating health impact of weight loss in persons with type 2 diabetes.
  • Studies on the impact of bariatric surgery on health and on the mechanisms by which bariatric surgery may impact food intake, body weight, and obesity-related co-morbid conditions.

For more information on the NIDDK nutrition research program and staff contact information please see:

For more information on the NIDDK obesity research program and staff contact information please see:

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This page last reviewed: February 1, 2011