Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in collaboration with researchers at Indiana University-Bloomington, have received an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the association between obesity and longevity and why some people are more susceptible to the health consequences of obesity compared to others.

Greg Pavela, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior in the School of Public Health, will be the principal investigator for UAB.

“The body mass index associated with the lowest risk of mortality is slowly increasing over time,” Pavela said. “The goal of this research is to understand why this is happening and why the association between obesity and mortality appears to be weakening across generations.”

Researchers will test three hypotheses about how changes in BMI may affect the current generation’s lifespan and modify obesity’s effect on lifespan in future generations. The first hypothesis is that discrimination experienced by individuals who are obese may lead to increased stress and, as a result, potentially create health consequences that will increase the risk of mortality.

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