Brian D. Elbel

Brian D. Elbel, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Population Health

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine


My research uses behavioral economics to understand how individuals make decisions about their health, and the role and influence of public policy and the environment on these decisions. I study the overall role of the food environment and the built environment on childhood obesity; the impact of public policies mandating calorie labeling in restaurants; the impact of school food policies on childhood obesity; the potential impact of NYC’s policy limiting the size of sugar sweetened beverages at restaurants; and the impact of policies supporting the development of supermarkets in high need areas, among other areas.

We use a variety of statistical and econometric methods, and diverse and growing sources of data, including surveys, sales data, administrative data and other types of “big data”. We seek to inform the work of policy makers in the areas of obesity prevention and focus largely on understanding the causal role of policies and the environment on obesity and related chronic disease.

Additionally, as the founding Director of NYU Langone Comprehensive Program on Obesity, I am spearheading the development of a novel, institution-wide initiative designed to determine unique causal pathways and strategies for treating and preventing obesity. We are developing a first of its kind, multidisciplinary program by combining research from the population health, clinical and basic science domains to improve the prevention and treatment of obesity. The center of this work is the creation of a multidisciplinary data infrastructure—called DataBridge—that unites population health, clinical, and basic science research using big data analytic techniques.



Academic office

227 East 30th Street

Sixth Floor

New York, NY 10016

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Associate Professor, Department of Population Health

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

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

Director, Obesity Initiative

PhD from Yale University

Tamura, Kosuke; Elbel, Brian; Chaix, Basile; Regan, Seann D; Al-Ajlouni, Yazan A; Athens, Jessica K; Meline, Julie; Duncan, Dustin T

Journal of community health. 2017 Apr 6; ?-?

Lee, David C; Yi, Stella S; Fong, Hiu-Fai; Athens, Jessica K; Ravenell, Joseph E; Sevick, Mary Ann; Wall, Stephen P; Elbel, Brian

Academic pediatrics. 2017 Apr; 17(3):267-274

Tamura, Kosuke; Duncan, Dustin T; Athens, Jessica K; Bragg, Marie A; Rienti, Michael Jr; Aldstadt, Jared; Scott, Marc A; Elbel, Brian

International journal of food sciences & nutrition. 2017 Jan 17; 1-10

Stiefel, Leanna; Elbel, Brian; Pflugh Prescott, Melissa; Aneja, Siddhartha; Schwartz, Amy E

Journal of school health. 2017 Jan; 87(1):3-11

Duncan, Dustin T; Tamura, Kosuke; Regan, Seann D; Athens, Jessica; Elbel, Brian; Meline, Julie; Al-Ajlouni, Yazan A; Chaix, Basile

Annals of epidemiology. 2017 Jan; 27(1):67-75

Taksler, Glen B; Kiszko, Kamila; Abrams, Courtney; Elbel, Brian

American journal of preventive medicine. 2016 Dec; 51(6):890-897

Harnack, Lisa; Oakes, J Michael; Elbel, Brian; Beatty, Timothy; Rydell, Sarah; French, Simone

JAMA internal medicine. 2016 Nov 01; 176(11):1610-1618

Jilcott Pitts, Stephanie B; Wu, Qiang; Sharpe, Patricia A; Rafferty, Ann P; Elbel, Brian; Ammerman, Alice S; Payne, Collin R; Hopping, Beth N; McGuirt, Jared T; Wall-Bassett, Elizabeth D

Journal of nutrition education & behavior. 2016 Nov; 48(10):735-742.e1