Marlene Schwartz

Professor, Human Development and Family Sciences

Educational Background:
Ph.D., Psychology, Yale University, 1996
M.Phil., Psychology, Yale University, 1993
M.S., Psychology, Yale University, 1992
B.A.H., Haverford College, 1988 

Dr. Schwartz is Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.  The mission of the Rudd Center is to promote solutions to childhood obesity, poor diet, and weight bias through research and policy. 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. She has also served 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. She has studied school wellness policies, the preschool nutrition environment, the effect of food marketing on children, the relationship between food insecurity and diet quality, 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 and in 2016, she was honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Schwartz’s research and the Rudd Center are highlighted in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Law News – July 2017, Profile in Public Health Law: Marlene Schwartz, PhD.

View more about Dr. Schwartz’s work at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Selected Recent Publications:  

  1. Schwartz M, Piekarz, E, Read M, Chriqui J. (in press). Wellness School Assessment Tool Version 3.0: An updated quantitative measure of written school wellness policies. Preventing Chronic Disease.
  2. Boehm R, Read M, Henderson K, Schwartz M. (2020). Removing competitive foods v. nudging and marketing school meals: A pilot study in high school cafeterias. Public Health Nutrition. February 23:2:1-8
  3. Cohen J, Schwartz M. (2020).  Documented Success and Future Potential of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and January 1-4.
  4. Schwartz M, Brownell K, Miller L. (2019). Primer on US food and nutrition policy and public health: Protect school nutrition standards. American Journal of Public Health. 109: 990-991.
  5. Brownell K, Miller L, Schwartz M. (2019). Primer on US food and nutrition policy and public health: Food assistance. American Journal of Public Health. 109: 988-989.
  6. Miller L. Schwartz M, Brownell K, (2019). Primer on US food and nutrition policy and public health: Food sustainability. American Journal of Public Health. 109: 986-988.
  7. *Fernandes CF, Schwartz MB, Ickovics JR, Basch CE. (2019). Educator perspectives: Selected barriers to implementation of school-level nutrition policies. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 51(7):843-849.
  8. McKee S, Cooksey-Stowers K, St. Louis R, Schwartz M. (2019). Understanding the process of implementing nutrition and physical activity policies in a large national child care organization: a mixed-methods study. Translational Behavioral Medicine. April 1-11.
  9. Stein E, Cooksey-Stowers K, McCabe M, White M, Schwartz M. (2019). Ingredient bundles and recipe tastings in food pantries: a pilot study to increase the selection of healthy foods. Public Health Nutrition. March 1-6.
  10. Schwartz M, Seligman H. (2019). The Unrealized Health Promoting Potential of a National Network of Food Pantries. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. 14:1-2
  11. Boehm, R., Read, M., Henderson, K.E., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Juice displaces milk and fruit in high school lunches. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
  12. Ickovics, J.R., O’Connor-Duffany, K., Shebl, F.M., Peters, S.M., Read, M., Gilstad-Hayden, K., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Implementing school-based policies to prevent obesity: Cluster randomized trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Jan; 56(1):e1-e11. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.08.026
  13. Cooksey-Stowers, K., Martin, K., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Client preferences for nutrition interventions in food pantries. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 14,18-34.
  14. Cooksey-Stowers, K., Martin, K., Read, M., Wolff, M., McCabe, M., Schwartz, M.B. (2019). Food pantry staff perceptions of a nutrition rating system to guide client choice. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, 14, 35-49.
  15. Foster J., Schwartz M., Grenier R., Burke M., Taylor E., Mobley A. (2018). A qualitative investigation into the U.S. Department of Agriculture 18-item Household Food Security Survey Module: Variations in interpretation, understanding and report by gender. Journal of Public Affairs. e.1862.
  16. Martin, K., Callahan, K., Wolff, M. & Schwartz, M.B. (2018). Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP): Development of a nutrition stoplight system for food banks and food pantries. Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. May: 1-7.
  17. Schwartz M, Henderson K, Read M, Cornelius T. (2017) Student Acceptance of Plain Milk Increases Significantly 2 Years after Flavored Milk Is Removed from School Cafeterias: An Observational Study. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. July 1-8
  18. Cooksey-Stowers K, Schwartz MB, Brownell K. (2017). Food Swamps Predict Obesity Rates Better Than Food Deserts in the United States. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. November 1-20
  19. Schwartz, M. B., Schneider, G. E., * Choi, Y. Y., * Li, X., Harris, J., Andreyeva, T., * Hyary, M., Highsmith Vernick, N., Appel, L. J. (2017). Association of a Community Campaign for Better Beverage Choices with Beverage Purchases from Supermarkets. JAMA Internal Medicine. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9650.
  20. Schwartz, M. B., Just, D. R., Chriqui, J. F., Ammerman, A. S. (2017). Appetite self-regulation: Environmental and policy influences on eating behaviors. Obesity, 25 Suppl 1:S26-S38. doi: 10.1002/oby.21770.

Selected examples of national media coverage:

The Counter (October 1, 2020)

Good public-health news, for once: Far fewer kids are “heavy drinkers” of sugar-sweetened beverages than in the early aughts

The Counter (June 11, 2020)

Calorie labeling—once fiercely opposed by restaurants—could save thousands of lives and billions in health expenses

Reuters (February 21, 2020)

School lunch overhaul led to healthier meals for U.S. kids

Medical Xpress (January 14, 2020)

Healthier school meals are evidence of the success of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

Food Navigator (January 14, 2020)

Experts urge industry to work with schools to improve kids’ meals even as standards are rolled back

Business Insider (December 20, 2019)

Nearly all U.S. kids eating added sugars before age two

NBC News (December 18, 2019)

America’s obesity epidemic, especially among women, expected to get worse

US News (December 18, 2019)

Half of U.S. Adults Will Be Obese in 10 Years

HuffPost (September 13, 2019)

This Is Why The U.S. Is Failing To Tackle Childhood Obesity

NPR (August 25, 2019)

Praise, Don’t Tease, And Other Tips To Help Kids With Their Weight

Pacific Standard (June 20, 2019)

Is Trump Right to Let Gas Stations Offer SNAP to Classify Cheese Spray as a Staple?

Washington Post (June 9, 2019)

Students, bored by cafeteria fare, love food delivery services; schools don’t.

NPR (April 11, 2019)

Climate change and our health

Los Angeles Times (January 28, 2019)

Obesity, climate change and hunger must be fought as one, health experts declare

CNBC (December 11, 2018)

New school lunch rules: Trump administration makes it easier to serve white bread

CNN (October 24, 2018)

Childhood obesity: America’s ‘true national crisis’ measured state by state

Refinery29 (May 10, 2018)

Restaurants Are Now Required By Law To List Calorie Counts — Can We Handle It?

The Telegraph (April 13, 2018)

How healthy is your child’s school lunch? You might be surprised

The Washington Post (December 5, 2017)

Food-makers are taking salt and sugar out of food. But they’re adding fat.

NPR (March 31, 2017)

Forcing People At Vending Machines To Wait Nudges Them To Buy Healthier Snacks

NPR (March 13, 2017)

Un-Sweetened: How A Maryland County Cut Soda Sales Without A Soda Tax


Marlene Schwartz
Contact Information
Phone860 380 1211
Mailing Address1 Constitution Plaza, Suite 600, Hartford CT 06103
CoursesHDFS 3095: Food and the American Family