The National Institutes of Health plans to launch a $37 million program, Translating Basic Behavioral and Social Science Discoveries into Interventions to Reduce Obesity, which will include funding for sleep duration research. 

Interventions being developed include creative new approaches to promote awareness of specific eating behaviors, decrease the desire for high-calorie foods, reduce stress-related eating, increase motivation to adhere to weight loss strategies, engage an individual’s social networks and communities to encourage physical activity, and improve sleep patterns.

Rena R. Wing, PhD, Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, will head the project, “Increasing Sleep Duration: A Novel Approach to Weight Control.” The study is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

"These grants are intended to develop new and innovative ways to tackle this important problem,” said NIH director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “This approach differs from previous large clinical trials of behavioral interventions to reduce obesity by placing new emphasis on applying findings from basic behavioral and social sciences to improve behavioral strategies.”

According to the NIH, the program’s studies will focus on diverse populations at high risk of being overweight or obese, including Latino and African-American adults, African-American adolescents, low-income populations, pregnant women, and women in the menopausal transition.

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