Obesity and Energy Balance

The term, "energy balance" as applied to human health, typically refers to the integrated effects of diet, physical activity, and genetics on growth and body weight over an individual’s lifetime.

Increasingly, evidence supports the importance of understanding the effects of energy balance on cancer prevention, development, and progression, and on cancer survivors’ quality of life. Weight, body composition, physical activity, and diet affect numerous physiological systems and can influence the cancer process at many points.

The Health Behaviors Research Branch supports research that explores the effect of energy balance (obesity and overweight) on cancer prevention and relevant approaches with broad population impact.

Projects and Initiatives

Trans-NCI Obesity & Cancer Work Group

The goal of this work group is to identify questions, needs, gaps, priorities in areas related to obesity and cancer.

The Accumulating Data to Optimally Predict obesity Treatment (ADOPT) Project

The NHLBI- and NCI-led Accumulating Data to Optimally Predict obesity Treatment (ADOPT) project resulted in the development of a set of recommended measures to further understand variation in responses to weight loss interventions.

A new data resource facilitating use of the environmental measures recommended by the ADOPT team is now available on the NCI GIS Portal for Cancer Research. The environmental domain web resource presents and describes methods to facilitate use of area-level environmental constructs concerning walkability, food outlet accessibility, socioeconomic deprivation, personal safety, and urbanicity. Block-group and/or tract-level data for walkability, neighborhood deprivation, and urbanicity/rurality are available for download. Methods are described to obtain safety and food environment related variables. These data layers should facilitate analysis of whether environmental features moderate responses to weight loss interventions.

National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research – (NCCOR)

The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) brings together four of the nation’s leading research funders – the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) – to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and application of childhood obesity research and to produce positive changes more rapidly through enhanced coordination and collaboration.

Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC)

The Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) initiative fosters collaboration among transdisciplinary teams of scientists with the goal of accelerating progress toward reducing cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality associated with obesity, low levels of physical activity, and poor diet. It also provides training opportunities for new and established scientists to carry out integrative research on energetics and energy balance. The TREC initiative complements NCI ’s other energy balance research endeavors and efforts of the NIH Obesity Task Force.


Special issue about childhood obesity prevention

This special issue of Obesity articulates a research agenda to address childhood obesity prevention in Latin America and among Latino populations in the U.S. The issue was coordinated by the NIH Fogarty International Center and co-funded by NCI and other NIH Institutes and Offices. It is a component of a larger initiative to catalyze research collaborations between the U.S. and Latin American countries. More information about this initiative

Funding Opportunities

Title Announcement # Expiration Date Contact
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Alcohol and Cancer Control

More Information
NOT-CA-20-034 September 9, 2023 Tanya Agurs-Collins

David Berrigan
Stimulating Innovations in Behavioral Intervention Research for Cancer Prevention and Control PAR-19-309 (R21 Clinical Trial Optional) September 8, 2022 Tanya Agurs-Collins
240-276-6956 collinsta@mail.nih.gov
Time-Sensitive Obesity Policy and Program Evaluation PAR-21-305 (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) September 11, 2024 David Berrigan

Data and Tools

National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Measures Registry

Assess diet, physical activity, and the environments in which these behaviors occur through this searchable database of diet and physical activity measures.

National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) Catalogue of Surveillance Systems

Access over 100 publicly available datasets relevant to childhood obesity research, including health behaviors, outcomes, and determinants, and policies and environmental factors.

Accumulating Data to Optimally Predict Obesity Treatment (ADOPT) Core Measures Project

This project identified a standard set 50 core measures, or factors, that can be analyzed across studies to better understand the variation in response to obesity treatments.

Learn More

Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour (ASA24®) Dietary Assessment Tool

Use this free, web-based tool to collect multiple, automatically coded, self-administered 24-hour diet recalls and/or single or multi-day food records.

Learn More

Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (CLASS)

Use data from this website to compare state laws on nutrition and physical education between states and policy changes over time.

Learn more about CLASS

Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ)

Use this free food questionnaire with adults 19 or more years of age to assess food and dietary supplement intakes.

Learn More

Evidence-Based Cancer Control Programs

This searchable database of evidence-based cancer control programs provides program planners and public health practitioners easy and immediate access to programs tested in a research study, publication(s) of the study findings, and program materials used with a particular study population in a specific setting.

Learn more

Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) Study

Understand the lifestyle behaviors that relate to cancer risk with this collection of psychosocial, generational, and environmental survey data.

Learn More About FLASHE

Food Attitudes and Behaviors (FAB) Survey

Access the instrument, references, and analytic guide for a survey developed to evaluate a variety of factors that may be related to fruit and vegetable intake among adults.

View The Survey

Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS)

Study various aspects of health communication in the U.S. with these publicly available data about the public’s use of cancer-related information.

Obtain HINTS Data

Healthy Eating Index (HEI)

Use this scoring metric to determine overall diet quality as well as the quality of a range of dietary components.

Learn More

The Interactive Diet and Activity Tracking in AARP (IDATA) Study Data

Access these data for studies of physical activity and nutrition.

Learn More

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Control Supplement (CCS)

Use this continuous, nationwide survey on a broad range of health topics as a source of U.S. data for monitoring health patterns and trends, as well as tracking progress toward national goals.

Learn More About The Survey

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

View data and publications from a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States using both interviews and physical examinations.

Learn More

Updated Compendium of Physical Activities

View the estimated energy expenditure values for adults for a wide variety of activities. Energy expenditure values are important for connecting physical activity behavior and health.

Berrigan D, Berger N. Geospatial Approaches to Energy Balance and Breast Cancer. Cham, Switzerland: Springer; 2019.

2017 Theme Issue on the FLASHE Study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

The Accumulating Data to Optimally Predict OBESITY Treatment (ADOPT) Core Measures Project Exit Disclaimer. Obesity, 2018;26(S2):S1-S54. doi: 10.1002/oby.22154.

CEBP Focus: Geospatial Approaches to Cancer Control and Population Sciences Exit Disclaimer. CEBP, 2017;26 (4) 472-586; doi:10.1158/1055-9965.

Last Updated
August 11, 2022