Brown, Yale researchers launch unique lab in Samoa to study obesity epidemic

November 13, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In the Samoan language, “olaga” means life — which makes it a perfect acronym for a unique new research laboratory opened by Brown University and Yale University scientists at the Pacific island nation’s Ministry of Health on Friday, Nov. 10.

At the Obesity, Lifestyle and Genetic Adaptations (OLaGA) lab, researchers led by Stephen McGarvey, a professor of epidemiology and anthropology at the Brown University School of Public Health, and Nicola Hawley, assistant professor of chronic disease epidemiology at Yale University School of Public Health, will conduct three studies at three distinct stages of life —birth, childhood and adulthood — to understand and address the nation’s unusually high rates of obesity. Obesity in Samoa has increased markedly in recent decades, McGarvey’s research has shown, because of a confluence of changes in diet and physical activity. READ MORE