Obesity is one the most complex, widespread health problems in the world. Faculty, students, and institutional partners of CORA are developing many evidence-based solutions to prevent and treat obesity and related chronic diseases.

Researchers collaborate across disciplines to study determinants in all sectors. Examples range from identifying urban design features that affect weight status to comparing surgical treatment options for severe obesity.

Other pages on this website discuss CORA projects related to diet and physical activity; the projects listed below go beyond diet and activity by focusing on other determinants such as sleep, environmental hazards, and clinical risk communication approaches. In addition, some of the projects listed below are developing and testing intervention strategies to reduce the prevalence of obesity.



Associations of Gut Microbiome Predictors of Body Fat Amount and Distribution - Trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms inhabit our gut and can affect human metabolism in many ways. Dr. Johanna Lampe is one of the leading experts on how the gut microbiome influences disease risk. In this project, Dr. Lampe studies the association between different microbial profiles and body fat distribution, diet, intermediate cancer phenotypes, and cancer risk across several ethnic groups. 

BARI-FIT - Patients who undergo bariatric surgery must adopt healthy diet and physical activity behaviors to maintain weight loss. BARI-FIT is a mobile technology-based program that encourages patients to track their physical activity and eating habits, and integrate it into their clinical care. Data from mobile devices inform the messages that a patient receives from his or her care team. The program was designed by bariatric surgeons and is based at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

Sleep Health in Preschoolers (SHIP) - A randomized trial led by Dr. Michelle Garrison, SHIP tests the effect of a childhood sleep intervention. In addition to trying to improve sleep, SHIP examines whether poor sleep has negative downstream effects on obesity, poor academic achievement, and emotional and behavioral problems on children and parents.

Parent Risk Communication - Treating children with obesity requires effective communication between health care providers and parents about the long-term risks of childhood obesity. To improve clinic-based risk communication, Dr. Davene Wright tests how different obesity risk communication messages affect behavior change in parents and children. Dr. Wright also uses microsimulation models to forecast a child's health risk based on weight status and other factors.

PCORNet Bariatric Study - Different surgical approaches to treating obesity have been developed, but little is known about the relative effectivenesses of different procedures. Dr. David Arterburn leads this comparative effectiveness research project to estimate the 1-, 3-, and 5-year benefits and risks of three main surgical treatment options for severe obesity. The project involves 10 Clinical Data Research Networks (CDRNs) including 53 healthcare organizations and more than 60,000 bariatric patients

Success in Health, Impacting Families Together (SHIFT) - Using a peer-to-peer intervention model, SHIFT trains parents who have participated in family weight loss management to subsequently be peer-based deliverers of treatment. Peer-to-peer interventions have been used to treat other diseases, and Dr. Brian Saelens designed SHIFT to see if it can be an effective, sustainable approach to treating childhood obesity. Watch this KING5 feature to learn more.



Trude ACB, Kharmats AY, Jones-Smith JC, Gittelsohn J. Exposure to a multi-level multi-component childhood obesity prevention community-randomized controlled trial: patterns, determinants, and implications. Trials. 2018;19:287.

Kim DD, Arterburn DE, Sullivan SD, Basu A. Economic Value of Greater Access to Bariatric Procedures for Patients With Severe Obesity and Diabetes. Med Care (in press).

Toh S, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Harmata EE, Pardee R, Saizan R, Malanga E, Sturtevant JL, Horgan CE, Anau J, Janning CD, Wellman RD, Coley RY, Cook AJ, Courcoulas AP, Coleman KJ, Williams NA, McTigue KM, Arterburn D, McClay J; PCORnet Bariatric Surgery Collaborative. The National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet) Bariatric Study Cohort: Rationale, Methods, and Baseline Characteristics. JMIR Res Protoc. 2017; 6:e222.

Kim DD, Arterburn DE, Sullivan SD, Basu A. Association Between the Publication of Clinical Evidence and the Use of Bariatric Surgery. Obes Surg (in press). 

Schauer DP, Feigelson HS, Koebnick C, Caan B, Weinmann S, Leonard AC, Powers JD, Yenumula PR, Arterburn DE. Bariatric Surgery and the Risk of Cancer in a Large Multisite Cohort. Ann Surg (in press).

Mooney SJ, Bader MDM, Lovasi GS, Teitler JO, Koenen KC, Aiello AE, Galea S, Goldmann E, Sheehan DM, Rundle AG. Street Audits to Measure Neighborhood Disorder: Virtual or In-Person? Am J Epidemiol. 2017;186:265-273.

Banerjee S, Garrison LP Jr, Flum DR, Arterburn DE. Cost and Health Care Utilization Implications of Bariatric Surgery Versus Intensive Lifestyle and Medical Intervention for Type 2 Diabetes. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 (in press)

Mason C, Wang L, Duggan C, Imayama I, Thomas SS, Wang CY, Korde LA, McTiernan A. Gene expression in breast and adipose tissue after 12 months of weight loss and vitamin D supplementation in postmenopausal women. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2017;3:15.

Oddo VM, Surkan PJ, Hurley KM, Lowery C, de Ponce S, Jones-Smith JC. Pathways of the association between maternal employment and weight status among women and children: Qualitative findings from Guatemala. Matern Child Nutr (in press).

Jones-Smith JC, Dow WH, Oddo VM. Association between Native American-owned casinos and the prevalence of large-for-gestational-age births. Int J Epidemiol, 2017; 46:1202-1210.

Auerbach BJ, Katz R, Tucker K, Boyko EJ, Drewnowski A, Bertoni A, Dubbert P, Hickson DA, Correa A, Young BA. Factors associated with maintenance of body mass index in the Jackson Heart Study: A prospective cohort study secondary analysis. Prev Med, 2017; 100:95-100.

Saelens BE, Scholz K, Walters K, Simoni JM, Wright DR. Two Pilot Randomized Trials To Examine Feasibility and Impact of Treated Parents as Peer Interventionists in Family-Based Pediatric Weight Management. Child Obes, 2017; 13:314-323

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