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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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Associate Dean, Research Mission Strategy and Administration

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

Duerr, Ralf; Dimartino, Dacia; Marier, Christian; Zappile, Paul; Wang, Guiqing; Lighter, Jennifer; Elbel, Brian; Troxel, Andrea B; Heguy, Adriana

Journal of clinical investigation. 2021 09 15; 131(18):

Fuster, Melissa; Kodali, Hanish; Ray, Krishnendu; Elbel, Brian; Handley, Margaret A; Huang, Terry T-K; Johnson, Glen

Journal of racial & ethnic health disparities. 2021 Jun 21;

Rummo, Pasquale E; Algur, Yasemin; McAlexander, Tara; Judd, Suzanne E; Lopez, Priscilla M; Adhikari, Samrachana; Brown, Janene; Meeker, Melissa; McClure, Leslie A; Elbel, Brian

Annals of epidemiology. 2021 May 27; 61:1-7

Fuster, Melissa; Handley, Margaret A; Alam, Tamara; Fullington, Lee Ann; Elbel, Brian; Ray, Krishnendu; Huang, Terry T-K

International journal of environmental research & public health. 2021 02 04; 18(4):

Thorpe, Lorna E; Anastasiou, Elle; Wyka, Katarzyna; Tovar, Albert; Gill, Emily; Rule, Ana; Elbel, Brian; Kaplan, Sue A; Jiang, Nan; Gordon, Terry; Shelley, Donna

JAMA network open. 2020 Nov 02; 3(11):e2024385

Hirsch, Annemarie G; Carson, April P; Lee, Nora L; McAlexander, Tara; Mercado, Carla; Siegel, Karen; Black, Nyesha C; Elbel, Brian; Long, D Leann; Lopez, Priscilla; McClure, Leslie A; Poulsen, Melissa N; Schwartz, Brian S; Thorpe, Lorna E

JMIR research protocols. 2020 Oct 19; 9(10):e21377

Rummo, Pasquale E; Pho, Nam; Bragg, Marie A; Roberto, Christina A; Elbel, Brian

American journal of preventive medicine. 2020 Oct; 59(4):522-529

Han, Jeehee; Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Elbel, Brian

Regional science & urban economics. 2020 Sep; 84: