The Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) is home to multiple systems-oriented projects aimed to combat both communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These projects span throughout the US and across the globe.
Project Lead: Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA
The Virtual Population Obesity Prevention (VPOP) Labs use computational simulation modeling to understand the complex systems of obesity. The VPOP model is the first obesity-related agent-based model to include detailed representations of multiple levels from individual behavior, to social context to physical environment.
VPOP Overview Sheet
Project Lead: Joel Gittelsohn, PhD
B’More Healthy Communities for Kids (BHCK) is an intervention trial operating at multiple levels of the Baltimore City food system. The study aims to increase affordability, availability and consumption of healthy foods within low-income and predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
Project Lead: Saeideh Fallah-Fini
This project has developed a system dynamics model that quantifies the energy imbalance gap responsible for the US adult obesity epidemic among gender and racial subpopulations.
Project Lead: Thomas A. Glass, PhD
Co-Lead: Brian S. Schwartz, MD, MS
This study uses existing data and ongoing research to understand the dynamics of childhood obesity in a large population of children living in 1,300 Pennsylvania communities that vary in their land use, food, physical activity, and social environments.
Pennsylvania Project Overview Sheet
Using a Comprehensive Electronic Health Record
Project Lead: Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA
Co-Lead: Shawn T. Brown, PhD
The HERMES model will provide virtual representations from all aspects of the agricultural and food supply chains in order to evaluate operations and performance, identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential solutions, determine the impact of new technologies, designs, processes, and policy-changes, and help guide investments and strategies.
Project Lead: Youfa Wang, MD, MS, PhD
Co-Lead: Huijun Wang, MD, PhD
China offers a unique opportunity to study the causes of obesity given the significant social, environmental and lifestyle shifts and the rapid increase in obesity and many lifestyle related chronic diseases that are occurring in that country. The project uses longitudinal and national data collected in China to evaluate the interplay, impact and nonlinear relationships of the built, social, economic and environmental and policy factors related to childhood obesity.
SPACES MERL is a consortium created by the US Global Development Lab at USAID. SPACES MERL consists of four key players: the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins, LINC, Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) and ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) who collaborate with USAID to help transform decision-making and interventions in development.
Principal Investigator: Susan Carnell, PhD
This study aims to investigate the biological basis of appetite and body weight in youth, using a mix of eating behavior tests, computer tasks, questionnaires and brain imaging methods.
The role of local bike policies and greenways in preventing childhood obesity
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth A. Dodson, PhD, MPH
A natural experiment study that evaluates the effects of the environmental change (implementation of the St. Vincent Greenway extension) on childhood and family health behaviors before and after the greenway is completed.
Principal Investigator: Xuemei Zhu, PhD
This project examines the impact of a rare natural experiment— moving into a new, activity friendly community (Mueller, Austin, TX)—on increasing children’s physical activity.
Principal Investigator: Kristine Madsen, MD, MPH
Proposed by researchers at University of California (UC) Berkeley School of Public Health, this project examines the impact of a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) excise tax on media, retail environments and child and adult SSB consumption in Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland (a comparison city).
A Systems-oriented Analysis of Two Multilevel, Multisector Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control Projects
Principal Investigator: Emmeline Chuang, PhD
This project addresses the knowledge gap regarding potential sources and strategies for overcoming policy resistance regarding systems-oriented approaches to prevent and control obesity.
Principal Investigator: Melissa Laska, PhD, RD
This study aims to implement new policy initiatives that help create mechanisms to broaden programmatic reach and enhance sustainability of staple food ordinance in Minneapolis.
Staple Foods Ordinance is Approved!
Principal Investigator: Kayla de la Haye, PhD
Researchers at the University of Southern California will use a systems perspective to assess the ways in which participants’ health support networks change in response to two different wellness initiatives, COPE and Wellness Challenge.
Principal Investigator: Ligia Paina, PhD
This study aims to explore how state level nutrition incentive networks are structured and how network capacity develops in two states where Wholesome Wave’s (WW) Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) is being implemented and scaled-up – New Hampshire and Vermont.
Principal Investigator: Christine Siokou, PhD
This intervention consists of a new, preventative health workforce of 150 people that implement a systems approach to obesity prevention practices and policy development at the local level in Australia.
Principal Investigator: Katie Martin, PhD
This project will provide a systemic change to the status quo of how we address hunger in the U.S., and how to address food insecurity and obesity simultaneously.
Principal Investigator: Philippe Giabbanelli, PhD
This project aims to address the impact of fast-food restaurants around schools in England by using an agent-based model. Specifically, the overarching aim for this project is to use a quantitative systems approach to understand how combined planning measures around schools affect the English food landscape across different levels of deprivation.
Introduction of Physical Activity Classes in Girls' Private Schools in Saudi Arabia: Evaluation of the New Policy
Principal Investigator: Hazzaa M. Al-Hazzaa, PhD, FACSM
For the first time, physical activity and fitness classes will be allowed for girls in private schools in Saudi Arabia. Using a systems science framework, this study aims to shed light on the increase off the prevalence of childhood obesity in Middle East and other regions.
Project Co-Leads: Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, MSc & Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, FACP, FTOS
Rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other preventable chronic diseases continue to rise in the Bahamas. According to recent reports, 64% of women and 50% of men are estimated to be overweight or obese in the Bahamas and the Caribbean region. The GOPC, Bahamas Ministry of Social Services and Community Development (MOSSCD) and Health (MOH) are working together to develop a sustainable, national obesity prevention strategy.
Project Lead: Saeideh Fallah-Fini, PhD
Strong evidence shows that exposure to different neighborhood-level environmental characteristics are associated with different health outcomes such as obesity. Within the food environment, restaurants are a particularly important area of focus for public health research, given the concern over the hypothesized contribution of increased restaurant eating and over-consumption of calories to the obesity epidemic. This concern prompted policy action in the form of menu labeling so that consumers could be more aware of the calories associated with each menu option.
Project Lead: Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA
Healthcare systems are complex ecosystems that include multiple acute and long-term care facilities and the communities they serve. These complex ecosystems contain a constant flow of patients and are increasingly interconnected via transfers, admissions and discharges. RHEA is a computational simulation model aimed to optimize healthcare ecosystems all with the safety of a computer. RHEA’s software platform allows users to model one or more healthcare facilities in order to produce strong and accurate forecasts to any changes in its ecosystem.