Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., Ph.D.
Section on Growth and Obesity
Building 10, Room 2-3142
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults has tripled during the past 40 years. The alarming rise in body weight has likely occurred because the current environment affords easy access to calorie-dense foods and requires less voluntary energy expenditure. However, this environment leads to obesity only in those individuals whose body weight–regulatory systems are not able to control body adiposity with sufficient precision in our high-calorie/low-activity environment, suggesting that there are subgroups in the U.S. have a uniquely high susceptibility to weight gain under prevailing environmental conditions. The primary goal of the Section on Growth and Obesity is to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of the metabolic and behavioral endophenotypes that contribute to the development of obesity in children. Drawing on our unique longitudinal cohort of children at risk for adult obesity who have undergone intensive metabolic and behavioral phenotyping, we examine genetic and phenotypic factors predictive of progression to adult obesity in children in the “pre-obese” state, allowing characterization of phenotypes unconfounded by the impact of obesity itself. Once identified as linked to obesity, genetic variants that impair gene function undergo intensive study. Such approaches are expected to improve our ability to predict which children are at greatest risk for obesity and its comorbid conditions and to lead to more targeted, etiology-based prevention and treatment strategies for pediatric obesity.
Mirza NM, Palmer MG, Sinclair KB, McCarter R, He J, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS, Yanovski JA. Effects of a low glycemic load or a low-fat dietary intervention on body weight in obese Hispanic American children and adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;97(2):276-85.
Han JC, Liu QR, Jones M, Levinn RL, Menzie CM, Jefferson-George KS, Adler-Wailes DC, Sanford EL, Lacbawan FL, Uhl GR, Rennert OM, Yanovski JA. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and obesity in the WAGR syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2008;359(9):918-27.
Lee B, Koo J, Yun Jun J, Gavrilova O, Lee Y, Seo AY, Taylor-Douglas DC, Adler-Wailes DC, Chen F, Gardner R, Koutzoumis D, Sherafat Kazemzadeh R, Roberson RB, Yanovski JA. A mouse model for a partially inactive obesity-associated human MC3R variant. Nat Commun. 2016;7:10522.
Yanovski JA, Krakoff J, Salaita CG, McDuffie JR, Kozlosky M, Sebring NG, Reynolds JC, Brady SM, Calis KA. Effects of metformin on body weight and body composition in obese insulin-resistant children: a randomized clinical trial. Diabetes. 2011;60(2):477-85.
Yanovski SZ, Yanovski JA. Long-term drug treatment for obesity: a systematic and clinical review. JAMA. 2014;311(1):74-86.