Rebecca Puhl

Professor

Department of Human Development & Family Studies
University of Connecticut
348 Mansfield Road, Unit 1058
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-1058 USA

Hartford office:
Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
One Constitution Plaza, Suite 600
Hartford, CT 06103

Phone: (860) 380-1209
E-mail: Rebecca.puhl@uconn.edu
Website: www.uconnruddcenter.org

 

Educational Background:

        Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Yale University, 2004
        M.S., Psychology, Yale University, 2001
        B.A.H., Psychology, Queen’s University, 1999

 

Research Interests:

My research broadly addresses bullying, bias, and discrimination experienced by children and adults who have obesity. My work has documented the prevalence and origins of weight bias and discrimination, assessed the pervasiveness and impact of weight stigma in the media, examined the effects of weight bias on emotional and physical health, assessed experiences and health consequences of weight-bullying in youth, tested intervention strategies to reduce weight bias, and studied potential policy and legal remedies to reduce weight-bullying in youth and weight discrimination in adults.

In an effort to address weight bias as both a social justice issue and a public health problem, my research has been harnessed for important translational work that has had both national and international reach on efforts to reduce weight bias in different societal settings. These efforts include the creation of evidence-based educational films to educate health care providers about weight bias, which have been tested and implemented as required training for medical staff in health care facilities and bariatric surgery centers across the country. My research team has also created a media repository resource for use by the popular press to help combat stereotypical and stigmatizing depictions of people with obesity in the media. The repository contains hundreds of images and videos depicting non-stigmatizing portrayals of children and adults with obesity, which have appeared in national and international news outlets, such as TIME magazine, CBS News, and Canada’s National Post. Whenever possible, we also use our research to inform public policy, and evidence from our studies has served as a foundation for expert testimony in state legislative hearings for proposed laws to prohibit weight discrimination. For more information about our tools and resources on weight bias, click here.

 

Selected Publications:

Puhl, R.M., Latner, J.L., O’Brien, K., Luedicke, J.L., Danielstottir, S., Forhan, M. (2015). A multi-national examination of weight bias: Predictors of anti-fat attitudes across four countries. International Journal of Obesity. doi:10.1038/ijo.2015.32

Puhl, R.M., Liu, S. (2015). A national survey of public views about the classification of obesity as a disease. Obesity. Doi: 10.1002/oby.21068

Puhl, R.M., Suh, Y. (2015). Health consequences of weight stigma: Implications for obesity prevention and treatment. Current Obesity Reports. DOI 10.1007/s13679-015-0153-z

 Puhl, R.M., Neumark-Stzainer D., Austin, B., King, K., Luedicke, J. (2014). Setting Policy Priorities to Address Eating Disorders and Weight Bias: Contrasting Views of Eating Disorders Professionals versus the U.S. General Public. BMC Public Health, 14, 524-533. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-524.

 Puhl, R.M., Luedicke, J. (2014). Parental support of policy measures and school based efforts to address weight-based victimization in youth. International Journal of Obesity, 38, 531-538.

Puhl, R.M., Grilo, C., Luedicke, J. (2014). Obesity bias in training: Attitudes, beliefs, and observations among advanced trainees in professional health disciplines. Obesity, 22, 1008-15.

Suh, Y., Puhl, R.M., Liu, S., Fleming-Milici, F. (2014). Parental support for policies to reduce weight stigmatization of youth in media and schools. Childhood Obesity, 10(6), 533-541.

Puhl, R.M., Latner, J.L., King, K., Luedicke, J. (2014). Weight bias among professionals who treat eating disorders: Associations with attitudes about treatment and perceptions of patient outcomes. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 65-75.

Puhl, R.M., Luedicke, J., DePierre, J. A. (2013). Parental opinions and concerns about weight-based bullying in youth. Childhood Obesity, 9, 1-9. doi:10.1089/chi.2013.0064 

Puhl, R.M., Peterson, J.L., Luedicke, J. (2013). Public reactions to obesity-related public health campaigns: A randomized trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 45, 36-48.

Puhl, R.M., Peterson, J.L., Luedicke, J. (2013). Motivating or stigmatizing? Public perceptions of language about weight used by health providers. International Journal of Obesity, 37, 612-619. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.110 

Puhl, R.M., Peterson, J.L., Luedicke, J. (2013). Fighting obesity or obese persons? Public reactions to obesity-related health messages. International Journal of Obesity. 37, 774-782. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.156

Puhl, R. M., Peterson, J. L., & Luedicke, J. (2013). Weight-based victimization: A comprehensive assessment of weight-loss treatment-seeking youth. Pediatrics 131(1):e1-9. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-1106.

Puhl, R.M., & Luedicke, J. (2013). The stigmatizing effect of visual media portrayals of obese persons on anti-fat attitudes: Does race or gender matter? Journal of Health Communication. doi:10.1080/10810730.2012.757393

 

Selected Recent Invited Presentations:

(May, 2015) Keynote speaker: Weight-based Victimization in Youth: A Pervasive Problem with Concerning Health Consequences. Rutgers University, School of Public Health, Annual Conference on Childhood Obesity, Piscataway, NJ.

(January, 2015). Plenary Speaker: Childhood Obesity and Bullying: Nature, Extent, and Strategies to Support Vulnerable Youth. Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Annual Meeting, Little Rock, Arkansas.

(December, 2014). Invited speaker: Effects of Obesity Bias and Stigma on Health. American Society of Nutrition, Annual Conference, National Harbor, MD.

(November, 2014). Invited Symposium: Promoting Obesity-Related Health Awareness While Reducing Weight Stigma. Obesity Week, The Obesity Society Annual National Conference, Boston, MA.

(November, 2014). Keynote speaker: Addressing Obesity Stigma in Health Care: Challenges, Remedies, and Implications for Bariatric Care. American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Annual National Conference, Boston, MA.

(June, 2014). Invited panel speaker: The Nature and Health Consequences of Obesity Stigma: Implications for Obesity Prevention and Treatment. Institute of Medicine, Roundtable on Obesity Solutions, Washington, DC.

(June, 2014). Invited seminar: The Nature and Impact of Obesity Stigma: Research and Public Health Implications National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD.

(April, 2014). Invited Keynote Address: The Nature and Consequences of Obesity Stigma: Implications for Health Professionals, Educators, and Policy Efforts. University of Hartford, College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions, Hartford, CT

(April, 2014). Invited seminar: The Nature, Consequences, and Public Health Implications of Weight Stigma. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA.

(December, 2013). Invited seminar: Weight Bias and Stigmatization: Implications for Research and Public Health Efforts Addressing Obesity. Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

(October, 2013). Invited Plenary speaker: The Pervasive Nature of Weight Stigmatization: Implications for Treatment, Public Health, and Policy. National Eating Disorders Association Conference, Washington, DC.

(September, 2013). Invited panelist: Health Consequences of Weight Stigmatization and the Contribution to Obesity and Eating Disorders. Eating Disorders Coalition Congressional Briefing, Washington, DC.

 

Selected Professional Activities/Awards:

  • Associate Editor, Stigma & Health (APA) (2015 – present)
  • Editorial Board, Obesity: Science and Practice (Wiley) (2015-present)
  • Recipient of Excellence in Policy Research Award, Eating Disorders Coalition,Washington DC (2013)
  • Recipient of Bias Buster Award, Obesity Action Coalition (2012)
  • Elected Advocacy Councilor, The Obesity Society Council (2009-2012)
  • Chair, Weight Bias Task Force, The Obesity Society, (2005-2013)
  • Board of Directors, Obesity Action Coalition (2010-2014)
  • Fellow, The Obesity Society (2010- present)
  • Guest editor, Supplement Issue in Obesity. “Weight Bias: New Science on a Significant Social Problem” (Volume 16, Supplement 2, November 2008)
  • Recipient of William Kessen Teaching Award, Yale University, Dept. of Psychology (2002)