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NIFA funds a number of research projects related to obesity through the National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems, the Small Business Innovation Research Program, and Hatch formula grants.

Groundbreaking work is ongoing at the land-grant universities on genetic and metabolic factors influencing obesity, including protein, fat, and carbohydrate balance, dietary calcium and milk intake, the hormones leptin and ghrelin, conjugated linoleic acid, and new and genetically modified foods.

Leading-edge nutrition education research is being done on the influence of breast-feeding, portion size, food insecurity, self-image, self-efficacy, risky behavior, and early childhood experiences in the home and day care setting.

Community research is focusing on food availability and accessibility, food purchasing patterns, marketplace influences, and community involvement as a way of strengthening local agriculture and community life, as well as diet and fitness. Unique research projects linked to dietary interventions are being carried out in rural towns in three states in the West, in black communities in the South, and in Native American communities.

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