Brian D. Elbel

Brian D. Elbel, MPH, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Population Health

Associate 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

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

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

Lee, David C; Jiang, Qun; Tabaei, Bahman P; Elbel, Brian; Koziatek, Christian A; Konty, Kevin J; Wu, Winfred Y

Diabetes care. 2018 07 26; 41(7):1438-1447

Rummo, Pasquale; Kanchi, Rania; Perlman, Sharon; Elbel, Brian; Trinh-Shevrin, Chau; Thorpe, Lorna

Journal of urban health. 2018 Jul 09;

Rogus, Stephanie; Athens, Jessica; Cantor, Jonathan; Elbel, Brian

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. 2018 Jun 12; 118(6):1037-1046

Park, Su Hyun; Al-Ajlouni, Yazan; Palamar, Joseph J; Goedel, William C; Estreet, Anthony; Elbel, Brian; Sherman, Scott E; Duncan, Dustin T

Substance abuse treatment, prevention, & policy. 2018 May 24; 13(1):19-19

Lee, David C; Gallagher, Mary Pat; Gopalan, Anjali; Osorio, Marcela; Vinson, Andrew J; Wall, Stephen P; Ravenell, Joseph E; Sevick, Mary Ann; Elbel, Brian

Journal of the Endocrine Society. 2018 Apr 17; 2(5):460-470

Martinez, Olivia; Tagliaferro, Barbara; Rodriguez, Noemi; Athens, Jessica; Abrams, Courtney; Elbel, Brian

Journal of nutrition education & behavior. 2018 Apr 01; 50(4):396-402.e1

Ruff, Ryan Richard; Ng, Jeannie; Jean-Louis, Girardin; Elbel, Brian; Chaix, Basile; Duncan, Dustin T

Behavioral medicine. 2018 Jan -0; 44(1):48-53

Thorpe, Lorna E; Feinberg, Alexis M; Elbel, Brian; Gordon, Terry; Kaplan, Sue A; Wyka, Katarzyna; Athens, Jessica; Shelley, Donna

American journal of preventive medicine. 2017 Dec 13; 54(2):320-322

Kids Consume Sugary Drinks With Combo Meals

Calorie Counts Aren’t Enough to Change Consumer Behavior

When Diet & Exercise Aren’t Enough