Physical and Behavioral Traits of Overweight and Obese Adults

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified April 2016 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) ) Identifier:
First received: January 27, 2007
Last updated: May 3, 2016
Last verified: April 2016

This study will describe the phenotype (physical and behavioral traits) of overweight and obese people. It will characterize the hormones, metabolism, food preferences, fitness and physical activity levels, sleep patterns and thought processes in people with and without weight problems. Genetic material will be collected for studies of the internal codes that influence body weight.

People over 18 years of age from all weight categories (lean, overweight, obese) who are reasonably healthy may be eligible for this study. Participants undergo the following tests and procedures:

  • Physical exam, electrocardiogram, blood and urine tests, instructions for recording food intake for 7 days
  • Metabolic studies for menstruating women.
  • Resting metabolic rate to study how many calories the body burns at rest.
  • Mixed meal test to measure hormones such as insulin that regulate blood sugar.
  • Glucose tolerance test to determine how sensitive the body is to insulin.
  • 24-hour energy expenditure to measure the amount of oxygen breathed in and the amount of carbon dioxide breathed out.
  • Repeat 24-hour energy expenditure.
  • Diurnal blood sampling and temperature assessment to study the body s internal clock.
  • Air-displacement plethysmography (Bod Pod) to measure body composition.
  • Dual energy x-ray absortiometry (DEXA) to measure body fat and bone density.
  • Repeat Bod Pod and DEXA.
  • Anthropometric measurements and bioelectrical impedance to measure height, weight, and circumferences, skinfold thickness, fluid status and percentage body fat.
  • Bromide dilution to measure the amount of water not in cells in the body.
  • Doubly labeled water to measure the amount of calories burned in a 7-day period.
  • 24-hour diet reports.
  • Endothelial reactivity to measure how the blood vessels stretch or dilate for assessing cardiovascular health.
  • Treadmill or bicycle exercise capacity test.
  • Physical activity monitor.
  • Unicorder to detect any breathing difficulties that may interfere with sleep.
  • Fat and muscle biopsy to look for variations in gene expression in fat tissue and muscle.
  • Neurocognitive testing to check memory, decision-making, hand-eye coordination, and reasoning.
  • Evaluation of mood problems and assess personality type.
  • Evaluation to assess the quantity and quality of pain experienced.
  • Taste testing to determine the response to bitter, salty, sweet and sour substances.
  • Occupational therapy evaluation to explore the subject s adaptations, if any, for performing personal, social or professional activities; the subject s views on his or her weight, body size and shape, and strategies to control weight.

Morbid Obesity
Healthy Volunteers

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Study of the Phenotype of Overweight and Obese Adults

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Estimated Enrollment: 99999999
Study Start Date: January 2007
Detailed Description:

Although complex metabolic, hormonal, and neural networks operate to control body weight, obesity is in most cases, the result of over-feeding and inactivity.

In the majority of obese patients, patterns of fundamental behavior determine the success or failure of weight loss interventions. Behavior is controlled to some degree by conscious decision making and is influenced by signals from the integrated networks involved in body weight regulation. The contributions of behavior, environment, socioeconomic status, physiology and genetics assure that no single therapeutic regimen will be successful in all obese individuals. In order to explore the factors that impede weight loss and result in weight regain, the obese phenotype and its variants must be defined. The purpose of this study is to detail hormonal, metabolic, cognitive and behavioral traits across the spectrum of weight categories utilizing the state-of the-art facilities of the Metabolic Units at the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, NIH. Genetic material will be banked for analysis of phenotypic subgroups as they emerge.

Patients over the age of 18 are eligible for this study. While childhood obesity is an important public health issue, the variables of growth and hormonal controls will be delineated in separate studies. Over-weight and obese patients are encouraged to participate in as full an evaluation as feasible. Lean individuals will be recruited to create a normative database for body composition (dual energy x-ray absortiometry, air displacement plethysmography), energy expenditure (resting energy expenditure, 24h respiratory chamber and doubly labeled water) and other techniques used to study traits of importance. The study will be conducted in both the inpatient and outpatient setting and can include evaluation of hormones, diurnal variation, sleep, eating behavior and taste perception, physical fitness, psychological and neurocognitive functioning. Importantly, this protocol is the means by which pilot data are obtained to develop novel approaches and hypotheses for studying obesity and its associated traits.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Obese subjects:

  1. Obese men and women over the age of 18 years;
  2. BMI greater than 30;

Overweight subjects:

  1. Overweight men and women over the age of 18 years;
  2. BMI greater than 25 and less than 30

Control subjects (may be matched for age, sex and years of education):

  1. Normal weight men and women over the age of 18 years;
  2. BMI greater than 18.5 and less than 25


  1. Patients with significant physical limitations that may preclude them from completing the majority of the tests in this study.
  2. Current, unstable medical conditions including cardiac ischemia; severe respiratory insufficiency requiring oxygen therapy; hepatic or cardiac failure as assessed by history and physical exam;
  3. Any psychiatric condition that would preclude participation in the study;
  4. Patients unwilling or unable to give informed consent.

Additional exclusion for lean control subjects:

  1. Previous history of obesity as an adolescent or adult;
  2. Current or past history of eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Exclusions for both cannabis users and controls:

  1. Dependence on drugs other than nicotine, caffeine and cannabis, within the past 6 months
  2. Any history of intravenous illegal drug use
  3. Alcohol use of more than 5 drinks per day, on 3 or more days in a week; or more than 15 drinks per week
  4. History of hepatitis B or C or current hepatitis A, B or C, or other liver disease associated with steatosis
  5. HIV
  6. History of diabetes (type 1 or type 2) or polycystic ovary disease or other conditions that may confound our study results
  7. Professional or collegiate athletes or participation in more than 60 minutes per day of vigorous exercise
  8. Use of prescribed or over the counter or herbal/alternative medications/ preparations with effects on glucose and lipid metabolism other than oral contraceptives
  9. Pregnancy or lactation
  10. Any condition or physical attribute which would interfere with MRI study e.g. claustrophobia, cochlear implant, metal fragments in the eye, certain types of tattoos or other metal implanted in the body
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00428987

Contact: Pamela M Staker, C.R.N.P. (301) 451-8893
Contact: Monica C Skarulis, M.D. (301) 496-6087

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: For more information at the NIH Clinical Center contact Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office (PRPL)    800-411-1222 ext TTY8664111010   
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Principal Investigator: Monica C Skarulis, M.D. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) ) Identifier: NCT00428987     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 070077  07-DK-0077 
Study First Received: January 27, 2007
Last Updated: May 3, 2016
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Energy Expenditure
Neurocognitive Function
Body Composition
Morbid Obesity
Healthy Volunteer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Obesity, Morbid
Body Weight
Nutrition Disorders
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on May 25, 2016