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. 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.


In the News

Soft drink firms still target kids, report finds
Article highlights new trends in sugar sweetenned beverage marketing to children
Today Health, November 2014

Most beverage ads targeting kids still promote sugar and caffeine, not health, says report
Article highlights Rudd Report findings that children's overall exposure to sugary drink TV ads has decreased, but childrens' exposure to Redbull and PepsiCo sugary drinks have increased
Food Navigator USA, November 2014

Berkeley breaks through on soda tax
Article highlights the recent implementation of the first "sin tax" on soda in Berkley, CA
Politico, November 2014

Election Day Entailed Casting Votes for Soda Taxes and Food Issues Too
Article summarizes election outcomes related to sugar sweetenned beverage proposals and the amount of money food industries spent campaigning against these proposals
New York Times, November 2014

Is 'Big Soda' mimicking Big Tobacco? California beverage battle spills over
Article highlights California's efforts to implement taxes on sugar sweetenned beverages
The Christian Science Monitor, October 2014


Grow M, Schwartz MB. Food Marketing: Serious Business. JAMA. 2014 Nov;312(18):1918-1919.

Tomiyama J, Finch LE, Incollingo Belsky AC, Buss J, Finley C, Schwartz MB, Daubenmier J. Weight Bias in 2001 versus 2013: Contradictory Attitudes Among Obesity Researchers and Health Professionals. Obesity. 2014 Oct:1-8.

Harris JL, LoDolce ME, Schwartz MB. Encouraging big food to do the right thing for children ’s health: a case study on using research to improve marketing of sugary cereals. Critical Public Health. 2014 Sept:1-14.

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.


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

9/12/14: Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity Moves to Uconn
Connecticut’s flagship public university today announced a new partnership with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, a nationally recognized nonprofit research center dedicated to informing policy decisions surrounding obesity prevention.

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.