Christina A. Roberto on Improving Diet Through Evidence-based Policies

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by Stacie Slotnick

April 23, 2015

Christina A. Roberto
Christina A. Roberto

Talks in the Advancing Wellbeing Seminar Series are free and open to the public.

Poor diet and obesity are worldwide public health problems. There is growing consensus that public health policies have an important role to play in improving the world’s diet. However, we currently lack a strong scientific evidence base for many policy proposals. In this talk, I will discuss an approach to research I call Strategic Science. Strategic Science means asking scientific questions that people in positions to enact change need answers to. When possible, scientists co-create the questions with those in the best position to enact or influence policies, and findings are communicated not only in scholarly publications, but in ways that are understandable and accessible to the policy world. The research I will present applies Strategic Science to three important food policy issues: 1) menu labeling in chain restaurants; 2) front-of-package nutrition labeling; and 3) food marketing.


Christina A. Roberto, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is a psychologist and epidemiologist whose research aims to identify, understand, and alter the environmental and social forces that promote unhealthy eating behaviors linked to obesity and eating disorders. Christina is principal investigator of the Psychology of Eating And Consumer Health (PEACH) lab ), which uses diverse research methods to study current food policy issues including menu labeling, front-of-package food labeling, food and diet industry marketing, and policies to reduce sugary drink consumption. In her work, she draws upon the fields of psychology, marketing, behavioral economics, and public health to answer research questions that can provide policymakers and institutions with science-based guidance.

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