Marlene B. Schwartz, PhD

Director, Rudd Center for Obesity &

Food Policy (Principal Investigator)

Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences

Research Overview

Dr. Schwartz is Director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity and Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences. Dr. Schwartz’s research and community service address how home environments, school landscapes, neighborhoods, and the media shape the eating attitudes and behaviors of children.

Dr. Schwartz earned 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. 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 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. In 2014, Dr. Schwartz received the Sarah Samuels Award from the Food and Nutrition Section of the American Public Health Association. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has profiled Dr. Schwartz’s life and career.


BA 1984 Psychology Haverford College
MS 1992 Psychology Yale University
MPhil 1993 Psychology Yale University
PhD 1996 Psychology Yale University

Recent Publications


Featured Publications

  1. Schwartz MB, Puhl R. (2003). Childhood obesity: A societal problem to solve. Obesity Reviews. 4: 57-71.
  2. Schwartz MB, Chambliss HO, Brownell KD, Blair SN, Billington C. (2003). Weight bias among health professionals specializing in obesity. Obesity Research. 11: 1033-1039.
  3. Schwartz MB, Vartanian L, Nosek B, Brownell KD. (2006). The influence of one’s own body weight on implicit and explicit anti-fat bias. Obesity Research. 14: 440-447.
  4. Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. (2007). Actions necessary to prevent childhood obesity: Creating the climate for change. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. 35: 78-89.
  5. Schwartz MB, Thomas J, Bohan K, Vartanian L. (2007). Intended and unintended effects of an eating disorder educational program: The impact of presenter identity. International Journal of Eating Disorders. 40: 187-92.
  6. Vartanian L, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. (2007). Soft drinks, nutrition, and health. American Journal of Public Health. 97: 667-675.
  7. Schwartz MB. (2007). The influence of a verbal prompt on school lunch fruit consumption: A pilot study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 5: 4-6.
  8. Schwartz MB, Vartanian L, Wharton C, Brownell KD. (2008). Examining the nutritional quality of breakfast cereals marketed to children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 108: 702-705.
  9. Schwartz MB, Henderson KA. (2009). Does obesity prevention cause eating disorders? Journal of the Academy of Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry. 48: 784-786
  10. Schwartz MB, * Novak SA, Fiore S. (2009). The impact of removing snacks of low nutritional value from middle schools. Health Education and Behavior. 36: 999-1011.
  11. Schwartz MB, Lund AE, Grow HM, McDonnell E, Probart C, Samuelson A, Lytle L. (2009). A comprehensive coding system to measure the quality of school wellness policies. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 109: 1256-1262.
  12. Story M, Nanney MS, Schwartz MB. (2009). Schools and obesity prevention: Creating school environments and policies to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Milbank Quarterly. 87: 71-100.
  13. Schwartz MB, Henderson KE, * Falbe J, * Novak SA, * Wharton C, * Long M, O’Connell ML, Fiore SS. (2012). Strength and comprehensiveness of district school wellness policies predict policy implementation at the school level. Journal of School Health. 82: 262-267.
  14. Handforth B, Hennick M, Schwartz MB (2013). A qualitative study of nutrition-based initiatives at selected food banks in the Feeding America network. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 113: 411-5.
  15. Andreyeva TA, Henderson KE, J, Schwartz MB. (in press). Positive effects of the revised WIC milk and cheese allowances: Experience in two New England states. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


Contact Information
Mailing AddressRudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
1 Constitution Plaza, Suite 600
Hartford, CT 06103