Obesity and Health

feet on a bathroom scale

Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other chronic diseases. Unfortunately, obesity has more than doubled across the globe since 1980, according to the World Health Organization.

RAND Health studies the complex interplay of diet, exercise, genetics, medical conditions, and socioeconomic factors in this global public health problem, with a special focus on childhood obesity.

From the RAND Blog

  • To Fight Obesity, Make UC a Laboratory

    Oct 30, 2014

    With its Global Food Initiative, the University of California is seeking ways to help the billion people who go to bed hungry each night. At the same time, UC could also be addressing obesity. Experimenting with changes to the food environment and documenting their impact on diet and weight gain would accelerate progress on this national problem not just for students, but for all Americans.

  • Location, Location, Location: Does the Food Desert Narrative Hold Up?

    Oct 28, 2014

    There's little rigorous evidence to support the notion that 'food deserts' are driving the U.S. obesity epidemic but this narrative has nearly become conventional wisdom. In response, stakeholders have poured hundreds of millions into bringing supermarkets to these neighborhoods.

Latest Research and Publications

Research in Progress

  • Diet and Nutrition

    Examining the role of diet and nutrition in the obesity epidemic, including a natural experiment involving neighborhood supermarkets and food availability
  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

    Assessing the influence of healthy eating and physical activity on obesity, including the effects of green space and physical activity promotion on health in low-income neighborhoods
  • Neighborhood Influences on Obesity

    Studies of the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and obesity—and related health problems, such as high blood pressure

Last updated: August 2013