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Energy Balance and Obesity Research in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch

Energy balance—the difference between dietary energy intake and energy expended through physical activity and resting metabolism—is thought to increase the risk of several important cancers, including colon, post-menopausal breast, endometrium, kidney, and esophagus. 

The high prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity is a worldwide public health issue, yet the mechanisms by which energy imbalance and obesity cause cancer remain unclear. MEB investigators are pursuing several approaches to address these issues, including:

  • Improvement of assessment tools for diet, physical activity, and body size, in order to disentangle these interrelated exposures;
  • Performance of etiologic studies in high-risk populations (e.g., South Asians);
  • Studies of biochemical mechanisms, including the use of high-throughput multiplex assays of possible obesity-related biomarkers (such as inflammatory markers/cytokines, metabolic hormones, and sex hormones).

A wide variety of studies are conducted using the following cohorts: