Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

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Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD

Marlene B. Schwartz

Dr. Schwartz serves as Director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University. She received her PhD in Psychology from Yale University in 1996. Prior to joining the Rudd Center, she served as Co-Director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders from 1996 to 2006. Dr. Schwartz's research and community service addresses how home environments, school landscapes, neighborhoods, and the media shape the eating attitudes and behaviors of children. She has collaborated with the Connecticut State Department of Education to evaluate nutrition and physical activity policies in schools and preschools throughout the state. She co-chaired the Connecticut Obesity Task Force in 2010 and has provided expert testimony on obesity-related state policies. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Food Bank. Dr. Schwartz has received research grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health to study school wellness policies, the preschool nutrition environment, the effect of food marketing on children, the relationship between food insecurity and nutrition, and how federal food programs can improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods. Dr. Schwartz's life and career were profiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Contact: (203) 432-0662;

In the News

Cupcake Ban: Schools Crack Down on Sweets
Marlene Schwartz exlpains why the entire food environment matters to the health of kids, even cupcakes.
Today Parents, August 2014

DeLauro Proposes 1 Cent Tax on Each Teaspoon of Sugar in Soft Drinks
Senator Rosa DeLauro introduced a bill that woould add a nation-wide 1 cent-per-teaspoon tax to all sugary beverages
New Haven Register, July 2014

Many Kids Who Are Obese Or Overweight Don't Know It
Study describes misperceptions about weight status among children
NPR, July 2014

Dr. Albert Stunkard, Destigmatizer of Fat, Dies at 92
Obituary of Albert Stunkard, pioneer in obesity and weight stigma research
New York Times, July 2014

Howard Country School System Gets an 'A' For Wellness Policy
Marlene Schwartz comments on Howard County school district's high score on wellness policy assessment
CBS News, July 2014


Radnitz C, Loeb KL, DiMatteo J, Keller, KL, Zucker N, Schwartz MB. Optimal Defaults in the Prevention of Pediatric Obesity: From Platform to Practice. Journal of Food & Nutritional Disorders. 2014 Feb;5(2):1-8.

Ickovics JR, Caroll-Scott A, Peters SM, Schwartz MB, Gilstad-Hayden K, McCaslin C. Health and Academic Achievement: Cumulative Effects of Health Assets on Standardized Test Scores Among Urban Youth in the United States. Journal of School Health. 2014 Jan;84(1):40-48.

Katz DL, Fox T, Kaufman FR, Schwartz MB, Wootan MG. Policy and System Changes in Marketing Foods to Children. Childhood Obesity. 2013 Dec;9(6):477-483.

LoDolce ME, Harris JL, Schwartz MB. Sugar as part of a balanced breakfast? What cereal advertisements teach children about healthy eating. Journal of Health Communication. 2013 Aug:1-17.

Ustjanauskas AE, Harris JL, Schwartz MB. Food and beverage advertising on children's websites. Pediatric Obesity. 2013 July:1-11.

Milici FF, Harris JL, Sarda V, Schwartz MB. Amount of Hispanic Youth Exposure to Food and Beverage Advertising on Spanish-and-English Language Television. JAMA Pediatrics. 2013 June:1-7.

Roberto CA, Haynos AF, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD, White MA. Calorie estimation accuracy and menu labeling perceptions among individuals with and without binge eating and/or purging disorders. Eating and Weight Disorders. 2013 May:1-7.

Martinez OD, Roberto CA, Kim JH, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. A Survey of undergraduate student perceptions and use of nutrition information labels in a university dining hall. Health Education Journal. 2013 May;72(3):319-325.

Harris JL, Sarda V, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Redefining “child-directed advertising” to reduce unhealthy television food advertising. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013 Mar;44(4):358-364.

Middleton AE, Henderson KE, Schwartz MB. From policy to practice: Implementation of water policies in child care centers in Connecticut. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2013 Feb;45(2):119-125.


Childhood Obesity: A National Security Issue?
Host: Marlene Schwartz, Guest(s): Amy Dawson Taggart
National Director, Mission: Readiness

Children, Adolescents, & the Media – Why Won't They Believe Us, and What Do We Need to Do to Convince Them
Host: Marlene Schwartz, Guest(s): Victor Strasburger
Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine; Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics; Professor of Family & Community Medicine; University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Reforming the Food Systems: Making the Transition Succeed
Host: Marlene Schwartz, Guest(s): Olivier DeSchutter
Professor, University of Louvain and College of Europe; Visiting Professor, Columbia University; Global Law School Faculty, New York University

Going to Scale: Strategies for Disseminating the NAP SACC Program
Host: Marlene Schwartz, Guest(s): Dianne Ward
Professor of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Two Strategies to Change Children's Eating Behavior in the Prevention of Childhood Obesity
Host: Marlene Schwartz, Guest(s): Kathleen Keller, Katharine Loeb
Professors in Psychology and Nutritional Sciences

Press Releases

2/7/14: Health interventions can boost health and academic achievement among students
There is a strong relationship between student health and academic achievement, according to researchers at Yale University. The study suggests that school, home, and community environments that promote student health will also lay the groundwork for higher levels of achievement. The study is published online in the January issue of the Journal of School Health.

12/3/13: Yale Rudd Center joins the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity will become part of the university’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), Yale’s premier center for the study and shaping of public policy and training of future policy leaders, it was announced. The Rudd Center is a distinguished program that researches and provides high-level guidance for obesity- and food-related policy.

11/5/13: Fast food companies still target kids with marketing for unhealthy products
In 2012 the fast food industry spent $4.6 billion to advertise mostly unhealthy products, and children and teens remained key audiences for that advertising, according to a new report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The report highlights a few positive developments, such as healthier sides and beverages in most restaurants’ kids’ meals, but also shows that restaurants still have a long way to go to promote only healthier fast-food options to kids.

7/19/13: New director announced for Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
Yale researcher Marlene Schwartz will be the next director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale. Schwartz, who is currently associate director of the center, succeeds Kelly Brownell, who co-founded the Rudd Center with Leslie Rudd in 2005.

3/12/13: Industry self-regulation permits junk food ads in programming popular with children
Loopholes in industry self-regulation allow food companies to continue to reach large numbers of children with advertising for unhealthy products — such as fast food, candy, and cookies — during “tween” programs and popular children’s holiday specials. The study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.