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Klesges Receives $3 Million Grant for Study of Airmen’s Obesity.


Robert Klesges, PhD, Professor at UTHSC, Receives $3 Million Grant for Study of Airmen’s Obesity.

The word airmen brings to mind an image of a svelte warrior, ready for action, but that is far from reality. Obesity ranks high as a cause for discharge of enlisted persons because they are unable to pass the annual fitness tests. It is the No. 1 reason people are not allowed to enlist in the military.

“Contrary to many people’s beliefs, the epidemic of obesity has not escaped the military,” said Robert Klesges, PhD, professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), who is researching weight loss and maintenance in the military. To further his study, the National Institute of Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded him a $3 million grant.

Throughout the years, many weight loss studies have been conducted with the civilian population. Dr. Klesges’ study at UTHSC has an important distinction. “Ours is the first large-scale study to Slook at weight loss in the active duty military population,” he said.

Participants in the study will come from the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Klesges said cooperation from the Air Force has been invaluable. The money will be distributed over a five-year period.

The NIDDK was founded in 1950, and supports a wide range of medical research through grants to universities and other medical research institutions across the country.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.