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Global Obesity Prevention Center

Our Projects

The Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) is home to several projects aimed at studying and fighting obesity from an innovative, systems level. These projects span the US and the globe.

Dynamics of Childhood Obesity in Pennsylvania from Community to Epigenetics

Project Lead: Thomas A. Glass, PhD
Co-Lead: Brian S. Schwartz, MD, MS


This study uses existing data and ongoing research to understand the dynamics ofchildhood obesity in a large population of children living in 1,300 Pennsylvania communities that vary in their land use, food, physical activity, and social environments. Using a comprehensive electronic health record based at a large integrated health care system, we’re studying a population of more than 163,000 children in order to model BMI trajectories over time as a function of child-level factors and key community features.

Check out our Pennsylvania Project Overview Sheet.

B’More Healthy Communities for Kids

Project Lead: Joel Gittelsohn, PhD

cornerstoreB’More Healthy Communities for Kids is an intervention trial operating at multiple levels of the Baltimore City food system. The study aims to increase affordability, availability and consumptionof healthy foods within low-income, predominantly African-American  neighborhoods. By conducting research at the policy, wholesaler, retailer, adult caregiver, recreation center, youth-leader and individual child levels, researchers aim to develop, implement and assess a 16-month, multi-level, systems-based child obesity prevention strategy for African-American children within 30 different healthy eating zones identified through food system mapping data. The project will evaluate the impact of the program on healthy food pricing and availability, purchasing and preparation, youth obesity, diet quality and psychosocial factors through interviews with food source owners, youth-leaders and parent-child dyads.

Check out our Baltimore Project overview sheet.

Multilevel Systems-oriented Childhood Obesity Study In China

Project Lead: Youfa Wang, MD, MS, PhD
Co-Lead: Huijun Wang, MD, PhD, from China CDC

ChinaThis study uses a systems-oriented framework, with data collected in China from large cohorts. Researchers incorporate novel systems analysis to study the interplay, impact and feedback loops of the built, social, economic, environmental and policy factors and their changes on individual children and their families' decisions regarding eating, physical activity, and adiposity outcomes. The project also examines why some individuals and families may respond differently to the environments and how they may affect their environments.