- During the last 15 years, the prevalence of obesity has doubled in our State of Wisconsin. The resulting increases in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer and other obesity related diseases will have dramatic effects on the economy of the health care system.
As the leading academic medical center in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has the opportunity, if not the responsibility, to take the leading role in research, treatment and prevention of obesity related disease.
- Currently, our University lacks a focus in the obesity arena, but does not lack expertise. We have outstanding physicians and academicians who are actively working in this arena, but in most cases they are working alone or in a small group. Building a cooperative network is vital if our efforts are to be efficient and truly successful at securing funding.
- Grants and contracts to support of basic research, social science research, and translational research in obesity-related diseases are growing rapidly. Recently, the DHFS has approached the University to provide assistance with evaluation and research of community-level initiatives. These collaborative efforts are emblematic of the Wisconsin idea - bringing the University out into the community! Our recent successes, however, are just the tip of an extraordinary opportunity for the UW to lead development and implementation of new medical, technological, and public health research, and to merge this with population health initiatives.
- We want the University of Wisconsin to become an internationally recognized leader in this important field. We believe it is the opportune time to take the next step and begin to create an institutional structure such as a cross-campus center to help support, facilitate and integrate researchers from multiple units.
- To this end, we have already begun to organize. Our group (known thus far as the Wisconsin Prevention of Obesity and Diabetes—WiPOD) includes faculty from the Departments of Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Population Health, Transportation Engineering, Urban and Regional Planning, Soil Science, Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility, Nelson Institute, Nutritional Sciences, as well as the State Department of Health Services (DHS), Department of Public Instruction, with additional support from UW-Extension, UW Hospital personnel, and local school personnel.
- Multi-disciplinary Approach
- Develop education and training for obesity prevention
- Conduct, evaluate, and disseminated research, including obesity prevention, treatment and management findings to improve community-based approaches in Wisconsin communities
- Assist Wisconsin communities with the planning and evaluation of community-based interventions