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About the Center

The University of Pittsburgh Obesity/Nutrition Research Center (ONRC) was established in 1992 with funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  The center is directed by David E. Kelley, M.D.  The ONRC exists to support research functions for investigators studying the broad areas of obesity and nutrition.  The University of Pittsburgh ONRC focuses on behavioral aspects of obesity and behavioral treatment of this disease.

The goal of the University of Pittsburgh Obesity and Nutrition Research Center (ONRC) is to facilitate and promote research, especially collaborative and multi-disciplinary research, that seeks effective interventions for the prevention and treatment of obesity and a more complete understanding of the causes and complications of obesity. This goal is of major public health significance because the majority of adults in this country are overweight or obese, this prevalence continues to increase, and additionally, childhood obesity has become commonplace.

The major focus of the Pittsburgh ONRC is on patient-oriented research. Assessing the impact of current treatments of obesity is a key part of this focus. These assessments include examining metabolic and genetic factors related to insulin resistance, the impact of obesity and other nutrition-related illnesses on body composition, and examining behavioral, pharmacological and surgical treatments of obesity. The ONRC supports clinical investigations that address these issues across the entire age span, from perinatal and even gestational development, through childhood and adolescence, to young and middle-aged adults, and in the elderly. Moreover, the resources of the ONRC assist investigators addressing issues of obesity and nutrition within special populations, examining effects of gender, racial and ethnic background, within the context of cultural factors and changes therein, among those with mental illness, and across a broad range of specific diseases. Two of the major complications of obesity are cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Supported by the ONRC, there are a number of large clinical trials at the University of Pittsburgh directed at these problems.

The ONRC is located in the heart of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the schools of health sciences. ONRC investigators are based in and collaborate with various schools of the health sciences including the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Public Health and the School of Nursing. The University of Pittsburgh ONRC consists of the following six main cores.




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