Marlene Schwartz

Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Connecticut
Chapter Member: Connecticut SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Marlene

Schwartz's research focuses on changing the environmental contributors to childhood obesity and poor diet. Overarching themes in Schwartz's writings include (a) improving school nutrition and students' diets through local, state and federal policies; (b) boosting the nutritional quality of products available in the charitable food system; and (c) decreasing sugary drink consumption through multi-sector community-level interventions. Schwartz has consulted nationally with the White House, Centers for Disease Control, National Academy of Medicine, Feeding America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as many state and local agencies.

In the News

Quoted by Tamar Haspel in "Moby Caught Flak for Saying Food Stamps Shouldn’t Pay for Junk Food. But He’s Right.," The Washington Post, April 19, 2019.
Quoted by Melissa Healy in "Obesity, Climate Change and Hunger Must be Fought as One, Health Experts Declare," The Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2019.
Quoted by Jacqueline Howard in "Childhood Obesity: America's 'True National Crisis' Measured State by State," CNN, October 24, 2018.
Research discussed by Megan Robinson, in "Will Kids Drink Plain Milk If Flavored is Banned at School?," The Philadelphia Inquirer , July 24, 2017.


"Distributing Summer Meals During a Pandemic: Challenges and Innovations" (with Brooke Bennett, Kim M. Gans, Kara Burkholder , Julia Esposito, Sarah Wen Warykas , and Marlene B. Schwartz ). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 6 (2022): 3167.

Finds that food service directors reported that the pandemic-related regulatory waivers were very helpful in allowing them to increase flexibility and be more creative in solving problems. Reports that they believe the waivers increased participation in the USDA's summer meal program, suggesting that permanent changes to the summer meal program regulations may be appropriate.

"Supporting Wellness at Pantries: Development of a Nutrition Stoplight System for Food Banks and Food Pantries" (with Katie S. Martin, Michele Wolff, and Kate Callahan). Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 119, no. 4 (April 2019): 553-559.

Describes the development of a nutrition ranking system for use in food banks and food pantries. Uses a system is based on the dietary guidelines and ranks foods as green, yellow, or red based on food group and levels of sugar, sodium and saturated fat.

"Implementing School-Based Policies to Prevent Obesity: Cluster Randomized Trial" (with Jeannette R. Ickovics, Kathleen O’Connor Duffany, Fatma M. Shebl, Sue M. Peters, Margaret A. Read, and Kathryn R. Gilstad-Hayden). American Journal of Preventive Medicine 56, no. 1 (2019): 1-11.

Examines a three year intervention that was designed to support middle schools in implementing nutrition and physical activity policies. Finds after three years, students in the schools with nutrition policy support exhibited a healthier weight trajectory than students in schools that received only physical activity support or a delayed control condition.

"Association of a Community Campaign for Better Beverage Choices with Beverage Purchases from Supermarkets" (with Glenn E. Schneider, Yoon-Young Choi, Xun Li, Jennifer Harris, Tatiana Andreyeva, Maia Hyary, Nicolette Highsmith Vernick, and Lawrence J. Appel). JAMA Internal Medicine 177, no. 5 (2017): 666-674.

Reports on a community-based, multi-level campaign to decrease sugary drink consumption in a county in Maryland. Finds after three years, there was a significant, nearly 20% decrease in sales of regular soda in full-service grocery stores compared to a set of control grocery stores that were matched at baseline.