Kelly Brownell, recently appointed the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, is a renowned expert on the causes and prevention of obesity and other nutrition problems.
His interdisciplinary work integrates information ranging from the basic physiology of body weight regulation to world politics and legislation affecting issues such as agriculture subsidies and international trade policies. He is particularly known for his work on food marketing, especially the marketing of sugary foods and beverages to children. He serves as director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, a multidisciplinary initiative that brings together experts from nutrition, psychology, law, economics, business, and other fields to prevent obesity and to reduce weight stigma by combining science with public policy. Current projects at the center examine the environmental factors that contribute to obesity; food and nutrition; the specific effects of the food and advertising industries that encourage overeating and physical inactivity; policies and practices affecting nutrition and health in schools; food marketing; global food issues; legal means for addressing nutrition issues; and federal state, and local legislative actions that can be used to improve nutrition and health.
Brownell, also a professor of epidemiology and public health, has been a public advocate for placing a tax on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods, and for banning high-calorie and high-fat foods, as well as soda, from schools. He has published 15 books, including “Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America’s Obesity Crisis and What We Can Do About It,” and more than 350 scientific articles and chapters. One book received the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Book from the American Library Association, and his paper on “Understanding and Preventing Relapse,” published in the American Psychologist, was listed as one of the most frequently cited papers in psychology.
Brownell served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for 13 years before joining the Yale faculty in 1990. He has served as director of clinical training, director of graduate studies and chair of the Department of Psychology. From 1994 to 2000, he was master of Silliman College.
The Yale faculty member has received numerous awards and honors for his work. In 2006, he was named one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” by Time magazine. He won the James McKeen Cattell Award from the New York Academy of Sciences, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association, and the distinguished alumni award from Purdue and Rutgers universities. He has served as president of several national organizations and has advised members of Congress, world health and nutrition organizations, and others on issues of nutrition, obesity, and public policy. He was also featured in the Academy Award-nominated film “Super Size Me.”