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Youfa Wang, MD

  • Professor - Adjunct

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

University of Buffalo, State University of New York
Farber Hall, Room 270
Buffalo, New York 14214-8001


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PhD, University of North Carolina, 2001
MS, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, 1995
MD, Beijing Medical University, 1992


Dr. Wang’s main research interests focus on nutritional epidemiology, child nutrition and growth, childhood obesity (assessment, global trends, causes, health consequences, prevention), chronic diseases, health disparities, lifestyles, global health, analysis of national survey and longitudinal data, and application of systems science based methodologies in public health research.  In particular, his ongoing research aims to understand the complex underlying social, environmental, individual, behavioral, and biological causes of the global childhood obesity epidemic, to develop innovative approaches for obesity intervention, and to examine the influences of lifestyle factors including diet on risks of chronic diseases. Some of his research is using a combination of innovative epidemiological, statistical  and systems science approaches.   Dr. Wang's research projects include large cohort studies, school-based interventions, analysis of rich data from multiple sources including large national surveys, and systematic review and meta-analysis. In some of these projects, he is collaborating with researchers in North America, Asia and Europe and with some international health organizations such as the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). Most of his ongoing research projects are funded by the NIH. For example, his two ongoing NIH-funded projects study the causes and interventions for childhood obesity in the United States and in China using system sciences guided thinking and methodologies.  In another NIH-funded population-based twin study in China, his team examines the effects of social, environmental and genetic factors on multiple health outcomes including child growth and chronic disease risks. In 2011, his  team received a 5-year NIH U54 Center grant, which supported establishing the Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity--Where Systems Science Meets Public Health, a Global Center of Excellence on childhood obesity and non-communicable chronic diseases research and training.  Over 50 well established investigators from 15 leading US and international institutions including the NIH and five schools at Johns Hopkins University are involved in the project.  Each year during 2011-2016, the Center provides pre- and postdoctoral training fellowships and small research grants (for more information, please visit

Honors and Awards

2012 Johns Hopkins University Leadership Development Program. Participation is by invitation only based on nominations from Deans. 2012 Outstanding alumni, Peking University Health Science Center  2010 Dannon Institute Academic Mid-Career Nutrition Leadership Institute (aimed to train future leaders in the nutrition field) 2005 The Dannon Institute’s Nutrition Leadership Institute 2001 Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health
  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • childhood obesity (assessment, global trends, causes, health consequences, prevention)
  • growth
  • sexual maturation
  • chronic disease
  • health disparities
  • lifestyles
  • global health
  • analysis of national survey and longitudinal data
  • systems science
  • Peer-reviewed papers selected from over 70 publications

  • Wang Y. Cross-national comparison of childhood obesity: the epidemic and the relationships between obesity and socioeconomic status. International Journal of Epidemiology. 30:1129-36, 2001.

  • Wang Y, Adair L. How does maturity adjustment influence the estimates of obesity prevalence in adolescents from different countries using an international reference? International Journal of Obesity. 25: 550-8, 2001.

  • Wang Y. Is obesity associated with early sexual maturation? A comparison of the association in American boys verse girls. Pediatrics 110:903-910, 2002.

  • Wang Y, Monteiro C, Popkin BM. Trends of obesity and underweight in older children and adolescents in the United States, Brazil, China and Russia. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 75:971-7, 2002.