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 environmental contributors of childhood obesity and poor diet. Overarching themes in Schwartz's writings include testing (a) strategies to improve the school nutrition environment and students diets through local, state and federal policy; (b) interventions to improve the nutrition profile of products available in the charitable food system; and (c) multi-sector community-level interventions to decrease sugary drink consumption. Schwartz has served as a consultant with local, state, and national groups working to improve nutrition in schools and the charitable food system.

In the News

Marlene Schwartz quoted on political polarization in SNAP policy debates by Tamar Haspel, "Moby Caught Flak for Saying Food Stamps Shouldn’t Pay for Junk Food. But He’s Right." The Washington Post, April 19, 2019.
Marlene Schwartz's research on changes in layout of food pantries discussed by "Food Pantry Clients More Likely to Make Healthy Choices When Meal Kits and Recipe Tastings are Available," News Medical, March 19, 2019.
Marlene Schwartz quoted on need for changes in food industry by Melissa Healy, "Obesity, Climate Change and Hunger Must be Fought as One, Health Experts Declare" The Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2019.
Marlene Schwartz quoted on Trump administration changes to school lunch guidelines by Jaden Urbi, "New School Lunch Rules: Trump Administration Makes It Easier to Serve White Bread" CNBC, December 11, 2018.
Marlene Schwartz quoted on state variation in child obesity rates by Jacqueline Howard, "Childhood Obesity: America's 'True National Crisis' Measured State by State" CNN, October 24, 2018.
Marlene Schwartz's research on school drink consumption patterns discussed by Megan Robinson, "Will Kids Drink Plain Milk If Flavored is Banned at School?," The Philadelphia Inquirer , July 24, 2017.


"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.