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Brian D. Elbel

Brian D. Elbel, MPH, PhD

Professor, Department of Population Health

Professor, Department of Medicine


I use behavioral economics to investigate how individuals make decisions about their health, in particular how public policy and the environment affects obesity and related chronic disease. Using statistical and econometric methods and diverse data sources, including surveys, sales data, and administrative data, we seek to inform policy on obesity prevention.

I have investigated the role of the food environment and the built environment, including neighborhoods, on childhood obesity. I also study the impact of several public policies on health:

  • policies mandating calorie labeling in restaurants
  • food policies in schools
  • New York City’s one-time proposal of limiting the size of sugar-sweetened beverages served in restaurants
  • policies supporting the development of supermarkets in high-need areas

As the founding director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Program on Obesity, I am spearheading an initiative designed to determine causes of obesity and develop new treatment and prevention strategies. This institution-wide initiative features the DataBridge, an infrastructure for integrating data from population health, clinical, and basic science research using big-data analytics.

I also serve as chief of the Section on Health Choice, Policy and Evaluation in the Department of Population Health.



Academic office

180 Madison Avenue

Third Floor

New York, NY 10016

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Assistant Dean for Strategic Research Initiatives, Office of Science and Research

Director, Comprehensive Program on Obesity

Director, Section on Health Choice, Policy and Evaluation, Department of Population Health

PhD from Yale University

MPH from Yale University

Osorio, Marcela; Koziatek, Christian A; Gallagher, Mary Pat; Recaii, Jessie; Weinstein, Meryle; Thorpe, Lorna E; Elbel, Brian; Lee, David C

Academic pediatrics. 2020 Aug; 20(6):809-815

Government data v. ground observation for food-environment assessment: businesses missed and misreported by city and state inspection records

Lucan, S C; Maroko, A R; Abrams, C; Rodriguez, N; Patel, A N; Gjonbalaj, I; Schechter, C B; Elbel, B

Public health nutrition. 2020 Jun 01; 23(8):1414-1427

Lucan, Sean C; Maroko, Andrew R; Patel, Achint N; Gjonbalaj, Ilirjan; Elbel, Brian; Schechter, Clyde B

Public health nutrition. 2020 Mar 30; 1-12

Feldman, Justin M; Lee, David C; Lopez, Priscilla; Rummo, Pasquale E; Hirsch, Annemarie G; Carson, April P; McClure, Leslie A; Elbel, Brian; Thorpe, Lorna E

Health & place. 2020 Mar 13; 63:102324

A Bragg, Marie; Elbel, Brian; Nestle, Marion

International journal of environmental research & public health. 2020 03 03; 17(5):

Fuster, Melissa; Guerrero, Kevin; Elbel, Brian; Ray, Krishnendu; Huang, Terry T-K

Ecology of food & nutrition. 2020 Jan 21; 1-17

Al-Ajlouni, Yazan A.; Park, Su Hyun; Safren, Steven A.; Kreski, Noah T.; Elbel, Brian; Trinidad, Andrew; Callander, Denton; Duncan, Dustin T.

Journal of gay & lesbian mental health. 2020 Jan 01; ?-?

Elbel, Brian; Tamura, Kosuke; McDermott, Zachary T; Wu, Erilia; Schwartz, Amy Ellen

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Jan; 28(1):65-72