Ancillary Studies to Identify Behavioral and/or Psychological Phenotypes Contributing to Obesity (R01)

PAR-16-304
Ancillary Studies to Identify Behavioral and/or Psychological Phenotypes Contributing to Obesity (R01)
Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health

obesity

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The drivers of obesity are complex and individual behavioral factors are not independent from genes, physiology, the brain, and the influence of the environment. For example, there is general agreement that a permissive food environment, low levels of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle contribute to obesity. However, environmental factors, alone, are unlikely to fully explain differential risk for obesity development or response to treatment.  Within similar environments there is considerable individual variability in weight or weight gain trajectory. Further, despite the evidence that behavioral weight loss can be efficacious and lead to meaningful health outcomes, there is wide variability in response to prevention and treatment interventions, and varying degrees of maintenance of weight loss following an intervention. Underlying genetic, epigenetic, and metabolic factors interacting with the environment likely contribute to this individual variability. To better understand this complexity, there is a need to improve the depth of our understanding about the contributing factors at the various levels of analysis; including individual behaviors and psychological factors that contribute to endophenotypes.

For the purposes of funding opportunity, a behavioral or psychological phenotype is defined as a pattern of behavior or psychological characteristics that are measurable/quantifiable and distinct (explains individual variation). An endophenotype is an intermediate phenotype that is the result of the combination of what is inherited and the environment.  The goal of this initiative is to identify the behavioral and/or psychological expression (phenotype) of this interaction that meaningfully explains individual variability in weight gain trajectory, response to prevention or treatment, and treatment engagement and adherence. The identification of these phenotypes should improve treatment matching or identify novel targets for more efficacious individual and population level approaches for weight management.

Types of ancillary studies might include, but are not limited to:

  • Addition of objective measurement of weight, BMI, and/or body composition to studies that are already obtaining detailed measurement of psychological characteristics hypothesized to be related to individual weight variability including obesity development and response to interventions.
  • Addition of measures of psychological factors and/or an objective measurement of eating behavior in studies that are already objectively measuring weight, BMI and/or body composition.

Addition of measurement in a domain already covered in the parent (e.g.; a new body composition measure in a study that already includes measures of body composition), is not consistent with the intent of this funding announcement. The goal is to support the addition of new measurement in domains other than those covered in the parent grant as a means of elucidating the behavioral and psychological factors that may explain individual differences in weight status.

Studies can be ancillary to longitudinal observational research or intervention trials.  Applicants can propose ancillary studies to ongoing R01 or equivalent studies as well as major ongoing clinical trials or longitudinal observational epidemiological studies. Studies can be ancillary to research funded at agencies other than the NIH but, regardless of the funder, applicants must clearly demonstrate approval and cooperation from the PD/PI or study team of the parent grant for the activities proposed in response to the funding opportunity announcement.

Regardless of the type of study design, there must be a plan to measure the variables of interest in the same cohort at a minimum of two well justified time points. Cross sectional and purely correlative research is not consistent with the goals of this initiative.

Studies with well-articulated mechanistic hypotheses are encouraged. We would also encourage research that examines how the behavioral or psychological factors measured interact with measures of brain processes, physiological variables thought to drive obesity, genetic, and environmental or social influences. Studies include collaborations between experts in psychological/behavioral measurement and metabolic phenotyping are encouraged.

Behavioral and/or psychological characteristics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Objective observation of eating behavior such as quantity, selection/quality, and speed of intake.
  • Underlying psychological processes of self-regulation thought to be related to obesity prevention or treatment response.  Self-regulation is the process of managing emotional, motivational and cognitive resources to align mental states and behavior with energy intake goals. Additional measures proposed should already be well validated for the population and mode of assessment.

Examples include:

  • Disinhibited eating such as loss of control, dietary restraint, and response to external or internal food cues;
  • Learning/motivational processes such as reward sensitivity, model-free and model-based reward learning, and reward maximization and effort minimization;
  • Cognitive processes such as simple and complex attention; executive function and working memory, including mental set-shifting, goal updating and monitoring, and cognitive control (response selection, inhibition, or selection); and
  • Affective /emotional characteristics such as high/low valence and arousal or patterns of approach and avoidance.

Primary outcomes must include weight, BMI, body composition or objective measures of eating behavior. Self-reported measures of dietary intake will not be sufficient as a primary outcome. For the purposes of this FOA, a focus on energy intake must include objective measures of energy intake such as doubly labelled water, direct observation of energy intake, use of technology to record aspects of eating in real world settings such as use of photography or monitors that capture eating episodes, or other validated technologies from which calculation of energy intake reliably can be derived, such as doubly labeled water. Psychological or behavioral measures should have demonstrated validity and reliability. Where possible, use of existing and well validated measurement tools is encouraged (e.g.; HealthMeasures (http://www.healthmeasures.net/)  such as PROMIS, NIH Toolbox, and Neuro-QoL or PhenX https://www.phenxtoolkit.org/ )).

Research is encouraged in populations across the life course and identifying behavioral or psychological phenotypes in high risk or underserved populations is also a priority.

Research submitted to this FOA should be in human subjects. Research in animals is not consistent with the aims of this FOA.

General Information

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: PAR-16-304
Funding Opportunity Title: Ancillary Studies to Identify Behavioral and/or Psychological Phenotypes Contributing to Obesity (R01)
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Food and Nutrition
Health
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards:
CFDA Number(s): 93.847 — Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases Extramural Research
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No
Posted Date: Jun 01, 2016
Last Updated Date: Jun 01, 2016
Original Closing Date for Applications: Feb 28, 2019  
Current Closing Date for Applications: Feb 28, 2019  
Archive Date: Mar 31, 2019

Eligibility

Eligible Applicants:
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Small businesses
Special district governments
City or township governments
Independent school districts
Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
Private institutions of higher education
Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
State governments
County governments
Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
For profit organizations other than small businesses
Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
Additional Information on Eligibility: Other Eligible Applicants include the following: Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISISs); Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government; Faith-based or Community-based Organizations; Hispanic-serving Institutions; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); Indian/Native American Tribal Governments (Other than Federally Recognized); Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Organizations); Regional Organizations; Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) ; U.S. Territory or Possession; Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply. Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply. Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Additional Information

Agency Name: National Institutes of Health
Description: The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to encourage grant applications to support the addition of measures of psychological and/or behavioral constructs or weight-related variables (e.g.; BMI, body composition) to existing or new research studies in humans with the goal of elucidating behavioral or psychological phenotypes that explain individual variability in weight trajectory or response to obesity prevention or treatment interventions. The intent is to support the addition of new measurement in domains other than those covered in the parent grant as a means of elucidating the behavioral and psychological factors that may explain individual differences in weight status. For the purposes of this FOA, behavioral factors related to energy intake include overt actions/behavior (e.g.; objective observation of eating event including measures such as quantity, selection/quality, and speed of intake) and underlying psychological processes related to self-regulation of intake such as cognitive control, affective response, learning, and motivation. The rationale is that an improved understanding of the individual characteristics and processes that explain energy intake patterns can lead to better matching of individuals to prevention or treatment approaches and identify novel targets for more efficacious individual and population level approaches to weight management.
Link to Additional Information: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-16-304.html
Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

NIH OER Webmaster FBOWebmaster@OD.NIH.GOV
If you have any problems linking to this funding announcement, please contact the NIH OER Webmaster

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