Obesity research group
Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and, therefore, a major health concern. In Norway the prevalence of adult obesity has more than doubled over the last two decades, with the most recent data, based on the HUNT study, showing that approximately 23 % of the adult population has a BMI>30kg/m2.
One of the focus areas of the Obesity Research Group is the role of the appetite control system within obesity pathophysiology, and how it responds to both surgical and conservative treatment of obesity. The aim of our research group is to achieve a better understanding of the pathophysiology of obesity and to develop treatment strategies that can assure long-term weight loss.
Our three main research areas are outlined below:
Exercise and appetite control
The impact of exercise on body-weight is modulated, in part, by its effects on food intake and appetite. We are interested in how both short- and long-term exercise affect the appetite control system in normal-weight and in obese individuals.
Previous research from our group has shown that short-term exercise does not trigger physiological adaptations that would lead to an increase in hunger/energy intake in the short-term. Long-term exercise, on the other hand, seems to have a dual effect on appetite control: It increases the sense of hunger, but it also improves satiety and the sensitivity of the appetite control system.
We are now investigating how different types of exercise affect the appetite control system in obese individuals.
Compensatory mechanisms activated during weight loss
Several compensatory mechanisms are activated during weight loss, both at the level of energy intake (increased sense of hunger/reduced sense fullness driven by changes in appetite-related hormones) and energy expenditure (reduction in total energy expenditure driven by a reduction in resting metabolic rate, an increase in exercise efficiency and a potential reduction in physical activity levels), which increase the risk of weight regain.
We are now starting to characterize the timeline of these compensatory mechanisms and try to identify strategies to minimize them.
Bariatric surgery and conservative treatment of obesity
We are interested on the impact of bariatric surgery and conservative treatment on weight loss, obesity-related risk factors, comorbidities and appetite control in morbidly obese patients. We are trying to develop new lifestyle programmes that can maximize weight loss maintenance after both surgical and conservative treatment of obesity.