Food deserts, or places that lack access to fresh produce, and food insecurity in rural communities contribute to a higher proportion of obesity and related health issues than in urban areas.
- The Obesity Research Institute, a multidisciplinary institute, approaches obesity from several angles, including clinical and community and population research.
- Clinical-based research that looks at the causes of obesity and the most effective ways of treating it.
- Community-based programs like "Let's Cook, Eat, and Talk," which provided participants in rural communities nutritional education.
- Analyzing and identifying food deserts and working with community leaders to bring a sustainable food supply to local residents.
- Providing nutrition education designed for middle school students to increase self-efficacy about nutrition and cooking and to improve body image and reduce risky eating behavior.