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Your Environment. Your Health.

Obesity and Diabetes

Program Lead

Jerry Heindel, Ph.D.
Jerry Heindel, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-0781
heindelj@niehs.nih.gov
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-15
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Delivery | Postal
Delivery Instructions 

 

Program Description

 

Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have significantly increased in the United States. About a third of adults in the U.S. are obese, which puts them at risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Although many factors are involved in obesity, environmental health scientists are studying how environmental exposures and manmade surroundings influence obesity and related conditions.

Some researchers are focusing on exposures during critical windows of development that have adverse health impacts later in life. Recent animal model research shows that developmental exposure to certain endocrine disrupting chemicals can lead to increased weight gain later in life. Based on this evidence and obesity-related disease prevalence data, an emerging hypothesis states that the obesity epidemic could be due, at least in part, to chemical exposures during vulnerable windows of development.

What NIEHS is doing

 

NIEHS funds researchers who are studying various exposures that may be related to obesity, for example, the role of air pollution and high fat diet in obesity, how BPA exposure might promote obesity and metabolic complications, and the mechanisms of dioxin-induced metabolic syndrome.

Low activity level, poor diet, and excess body weight are known to increase risk for type 2 diabetes. There is also increasing evidence that environmental exposures can influence the risk for developing diabetes. NIEHS supports research that is assessing the effects of exposure to dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT, and arsenic on the development of type 2 diabetes. For example, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are examining the association between long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic and diabetes. This research aims to reveal some of the mechanisms underlying the adverse effects of arsenic exposure and to gather data that will help establish biomarkers that would identify individuals at greatest risk for arsenic-induced diabetes.

For additional information on what NIEHS grantees are doing, visit our Who We Fund tool.

Additional Program Contacts

Kimberly Gray, Ph.D.
Kimberly Gray, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-0293
gray6@niehs.nih.gov
530 Davis Dr
Keystone Building 3070
Durham, NC 27713

Delivery Instructions 
Thaddeus T. Schug, Ph.D.
Thaddeus T. Schug, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
Tel (919) 541-9469
schugt2@niehs.nih.gov
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-15
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Delivery | Postal
Delivery Instructions 

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