OBESITY AND CO-MORBIDITIES RESEARCH CENTER (OCRC)
The Obesity and Co-Morbidities Research Center’s (OCRC) main objective is to coordinate efforts to find solutions for obesity, which is highly associated with a number of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and certain types of cancer. Because of the absolute lack of appropriate preventive and therapeutic approaches to deal with obesity, the overall mortality directly and indirectly associated with this disease is rapidly increasing across the world.
Obesity affects more than 400 million people worldwide, and projections for the next 15 years predict an overall prevalence of up to 20%. In developing countries such as Brazil, the rapid nutritional transition provided by recent economic growth has led to a unique condition in which the malnourished persist in parallel with an increasing number of obese subjects. It is expected that by the year 2020, up to 20% of Brazilians will be obese and approximately 50% overweight.
Obesity results from an imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure. Although great advances were recently obtained in the characterization of the mechanisms that control feeding and thermogenesis, the complexity of the neural circuits that guide these functions and the difficulties imposed by anatomical constrains to study the human hypothalamus have hampered the rapid advance of treatments for obesity. OCRC has put together some of the most productive Brazilian scientists in these fields to advance the understanding of the mechanisms leading to obesity and its associated diseases. In addition, the search for new pharmacological, nutritional and physical activity approaches to deal with these conditions will be pursued.
The OCRC will invest in the education of high-school students and senior citizens regarding preventive and screening methods for early detection of obesity associated diseases. In addition, the RIDC will foster programs for improving the education of undergraduate students in the field of nutrition and increasing interest for research in these fields.
OCRC staff will be in contact with industry and other potential users of the knowledge and products obtained to speed up the transfer of knowledge to society.