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

Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD

Rebecca Puhl Dr. Rebecca Puhl is the Deputy Director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University where she is also a Senior Research Scientist. 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".

View Dr. Puhl's current initiatives on weight bias at the Rudd Center.

Contact: (203) 432-7354;

In the News

New Study suggests exposure to weight stigma is unhealthy
Article describes study showing physiological stress due to exposure to stigmatizing videos
WNPR, January 2014

Can Anti-Smoking Tactics Solve Obesity Crisis?
Article compartes anti smoking efforst with anti obesity efforts
BBC, January 2014

Yale Study Shows Stigma Over Weight Causes Stress
Yale Study Shows Stigma Over Weight Causes Stress
New Haven Register, January 2014

Fat Jokes in Children's Movies Are a Lot More Common Than You Think
Study looks at fat jokes and weight stigma in popular children's media
Huffington Post, December 2013

Obesity Stigma: a Failed and Ethically Dubious Strategy
Research shows that when individuals are stigmatized about their weight (e.g., being teased, bullied, treated unfairly, or discriminated against), that this leads to numerous inequities in many different settings, including the workplace, schools, health care facilities, the media, and in interpersonal relationships.
DugDug, January 1


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.

Puhl RM, Latner JD, King KM, Luedicke J. Weight bias among professionals treating eating disorders: Attitudes about treatment and perceived patient outcomes. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2013 Sep:1-11.

Puhl RM, Luedicke J, Peterson JL. Public Reactions to Obesity-Related Health Campaigns. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013 July;46(1):36-48.

Pomeranz JL, Puhl RM. New developments in the law for obesity discrimination protection. Obesity. 2013 Mar;21(3):469-471.

Press Releases

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.

9/5/13: Mental health professionals treating eating disorders are not immune to weight bias
Some mental health practitioners who treat patients with eating disorders may have their own weight biases that could negatively affect their patients, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Although previous research has documented weight bias among other healthcare providers, this is the first to examine it specifically among mental health specialists. The study is published online in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

3/19/13: Overweight physicians are also vulnerable to weight bias
Overweight patients are not the only ones who suffer weight stigmatization in the doctor’s office, a Yale study finds. Physicians who are overweight or obese are vulnerable to biased attitudes from patients which could interfere with quality of care, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, show that a provider’s excess weight negatively affects patients’ perceptions of his or her credibility, level of trust, and inclination to follow medical advice.