Boston Children’s Hospital Receives Grant to Fund Revolutionary Obesity Research Study

Boston, Mass. — Is a calorie just a calorie? Boston Children’s Hospital today announced a $10 million challenge grant from the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) to launch an innovative study to learn what we should eat to be healthy. Challenging conventional dietary thinking, this study aims to launch a new paradigm for addressing diet-related diseases, beyond the conventional calorie-reduced, low-fat diet. This is Boston Children’s first award from NuSI, whose mission is to reduce the individual, social and economic toll of obesity and its related diseases by improving the quality of science in nutrition and obesity research. NuSI’s  gift was matched with $3.3 million in funding from the New Balance Foundation; an anonymous donor; support from The Corkin Family, Robin Lloyd Corkin Foundation; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

“We are thankful for NuSI’s generosity in supporting this landmark study by clinician scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital,” said Sandra Fenwick, President and Chief Executive Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital. “Boston Children’s is a leader and innovator in the fight against childhood obesity. This grant from NuSI and the matching donors will help us advance the care for overweight and obese children.”

Cara Ebbeling, PhD, and David Ludwig, MD, PhD, of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s, are the first NuSI-supported scientists. Last year, Ebbeling and Ludwig made international headlines with a small but ground-breaking study upending conventional diet wisdom that “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, described how both low-glycemic index and low-carbohydrate diets might be more effective than a standard low-fat diet for those trying to achieve lasting weight loss.

“It is notoriously difficult and somewhat unprecedented to find unrestricted and unbiased funding for the kind of critical research Drs. Ludwig and Ebbeling have been pursuing,” says NuSI President and Co-founder Peter Attia, M.D. “Their work challenges widely held beliefs and is very costly. Rigorous science of this caliber involves tightly controlled diets, advanced metabolic testing and randomized crossover design. But it’s exactly the kind of science necessary to clarify the relationship between diet, obesity and disease.”

With the funds provided by NuSI and the matching donors, Drs. Ebbeling and Ludwig will expand on their current findings with a larger, multi-year follow-up study, launched in September 2013 at Framingham State University. According to Dr. Attia, their work holds tremendous promise for answering  questions at the heart of the obesity crisis.

Boston Children’s Hospital is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 members of the Institute of Medicine and 14 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Boston Children’s research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s today is a 395 bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Boston Children’s is also the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about Boston Children’s Hospital please visit

About Nutrition Science Initiative

NuSI seeks to apply first-of-its-kind rigorous scientific experimentation on nutrition and to communicate its findings to the public and decision-makers alike in an effort to significantly improve the quality of nutritional guidance, dietary recommendations, and policies. Founded in September 2012, by Peter Attia, M.D. and Gary Taubes, NuSI operates entirely on funding from private citizens and like-minded organizations. For additional information visit

Meghan Weber
Boston Children’s Hospital
(617) 919 - 3110