Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

More Information

Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD

Rebecca Puhl Dr. Rebecca Puhl is the Deputy Director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Dr. Puhl is responsible for identifying and coordinating research and policy efforts aimed at reducing weight bias.

Dr. Puhl received her BA in psychology from Queen's University in Ontario, and her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Yale University. Her clinical training at the Yale Center for Eating & Weight Disorders emphasized treating patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and obesity. She completed her clinical internship in Clinical Health Psychology at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System before gaining additional postdoctoral experience at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Puhl has been studying weight bias for over a decade, and has published a range of experimental studies, population-based studies, review papers, and chapters on this topic. Her recent publications address the prevalence and origins of weight stigma, interventions to reduce weight bias, and the impact of weight stigma on emotional and physical health. She has presented on these topics to academic, professional, and community groups across the country, and her research has received national and international media attention. Dr. Puhl serves on the Council of The Obesity Society, and is an editor of the book Weight Bias: Nature, Extent, and Remedies (Guilford Press, 2005). She also served as guest editor for a supplement issue in the journal Obesity, entitled "Weight Bias: New Science on a Significant Social Problem".

Contact: 860-380-1209;

In the News

Experts 'Appalled' by Puerto Rican Bill to Fine Parents of Obese Children
Obesity researchers say a Puerto Rican bill that would fine parents of obese children up to $800 is "unbelievable" and "unfair."
ABC News, February 2015

Doctors Must Examine Own Weight Bias Before Treating Patients, Researcher Says
Article highlights need for training doctors on how to discuss weight and obesity with patients in an appropriate and non stigmatizing manner
Uconn Today, October 2014

Americans' View on Obesity is Changing: Fewer Adults See it as a Personal Problem of Bad Choices
Article highlights new findings showing more Americans viewing obesity as a community problems rather than a personal problem
Yahoo News, November 2014

Talking to Kids About Body Image
Article discusses issues surrounding weight bias and stigma and how parents can to children about weight and body image and a productive manner
Parents, October 2014

Advances & Controversies in Clinical Nutrition: Addressing Gaps, Biases, and Shifts
Article announces upcoming conference on advances and controversies in clinical nutrition, including a list of the guest speakers attending event
PRNewswire, October 2014


Puhl RM, Luedicke J, King KM. Public attitudes about different types of anti- bullying laws: Results from a national survey. Journal of Public Health Policy. 2014 Nov:1-15.

Puhl RM, Kyle TK. Pervasive Bias: An Obstacle to Obesity Solutions. Institute of Medicine Perspectives. 2014 Sept:1-2.

Puhl RM, Neumark-Sztainer D, Austin SB, Luedicke J, King KM. Setting policy priorities to address eating disorders and weight stigma: views from the field of eating disorders and the US general public. BMC Public Health. 2014 Jun:1-18.

Suh Y, Puhl RM, Liu S, Fleming Milici F. Support for Laws to Prohibit Weight Discrimination in the United States: Public Attitudes from 2011 to 2013. Obesity. 2014 Apr:1-8.

Kyle TK, Puhl RM. Putting People First in Obesity. Obesity. 2014 Mar:1.

Lesser LL, Puhl RM. Alternatives to Monetary Incentives for Employee Weight Loss. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2014 Mar;46(4):429-431.

Schvey NA, Puhl RM, Brownell KD. The Stress of Stigma: Exploring the Effect of Weight Stigma on Cortisol Reactivity. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2014 Jan:1-7.

Puhl RM, Luedicke J, Grilo CM. Obesity Bias in Training: Attitudes, Beliefs, and Observations Among Advanced Trainees in Professional Health Disciplines. Obesity. 2013 Dec:1-8.

Puhl RM, Luedicke J, DePierre JA. Parental Concerns about Weight-Based Victimization in Youth. Childhood Obesity. 2013 Dec;9(6):1-9.

Puhl RM, Luedicke J. Parental support for policy measures and school-based efforts to address weight-based victimization of overweight youth. International Journal of Obesity. 2013 Nov:1-8.

Press Releases

6/2/14: Both Public and Experts Support Strategies to Fight Eating Disorders, Weight Stigma
Despite the prevalence and health consequences of eating disorders and weight-related bullying and discrimination, policy actions to address these problems are currently limited. However, there is significant support among American adults and experts in eating disorders for a range of policy initiatives to address these issues, according to a study led by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. The study is published online in BMC Public Health.

5/1/14: Obesity Action Coalition, The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and The Obesity Society Release Guidelines for Media Portrayals of Individuals Affected by Obesity
Today, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and The Obesity Society (TOS) released newly-drafted guidelines aimed at educating media representatives on how to appropriately discuss the disease of obesity in the media. The guidelines focus on areas of journalistic reporting such as conducting balanced coverage of obesity, using people-first language to describe individuals with obesity, selecting appropriate imagery and avoiding weight-based stereotypes.

4/9/14: Weight discrimination: Public supports disability and civil rights legal protection
Public support for policies that prohibit weight discrimination and even provide disability and civil rights protection for obese individuals has grown in the past few years, according to a new study by researchers from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The study is published online in the journal Obesity.

1/16/14: Exposure to weight stigma causes physiological stress
Exposure to weight stigma causes physiological stress in both overweight and lean women, according to a study by researchers at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The study is published online in Psychosomatic Medicine.

12/10/13: Parents support anti-bullying policies that protect overweight students
Parents, both with and without overweight children, are concerned about weight-based bullying and are in favor of a range of policy initiatives to address the issue, according to two new studies published this month by researchers at the Yale Rudd Center.