Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH

Professor and Division Head, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-624-0880

Office Address:
West Bank Office Building, 300

Mailing Address:
1300 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55454

Administrative Assistant Name
Viktoriya Ivanova

Administrative Phone

Administrative Email

PhD, Behavioral Sciences and Nutrition, Hebrew University-Hadassah

MPH, Health Behavior, Hebrew University-Hadassah

BA, Biology and Nutrition, Cornell University


My research focuses on the prevention and reduction of weight-related problems, including obesity, poor dietary intake, inadequate physical activity, disordered eating behaviors, and body dissatisfaction. My qualitative, epidemiological, and intervention research has primarily focused on young people from ethnically/racially diverse and low-income backgrounds. As the Principal Investigator for the Project EAT studies, I lead a team of researchers who have greatly contributed to what we know about eating and weight-related problems in young people. More recently, I have begun to explore the potential for using yoga as a tool for addressing weight-related problems. 

As Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health I have overall responsibility for ensuring that our faculty are engaging in state-of-the art research that is highly relevant in terms of addressing important public health concerns. Additionally, I am responsible for ensuring that our various training programs prepare our students to go out into the world with the skills and the passion to meet the health needs of the public. In the division, we are dedicated to ensuring that our research is being translated into action, and that our teaching program is highly relevant and applicable, in order to ensure that we are building a healthier future for all.


Food & nutrition, mental health, mother & children, adolescent health, nutrition, obesity, eating disorders, body image

Awards & Recognition

  • Award in Clinical, Administrative, or Education Service, Academy for Eating Disorders, 2019
  • NIH Outstanding Investigator, 2018
  • Member, AHC Academy for Excellence in Health Research, 2017
  • Member, Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health
  • Mayo Professor of Public Health, School of Public Health, 2016
  • Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher, 2014
  • Leonard M. Schuman Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, 2012
  • Leadership Award in Research: Academy for Eating Disorders, 2010
  • Distinguished Women Scholars Award in Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts: University of Minnesota, 2009


Research Summary/Interests

Research Funding Grants

  • 1/19/2018-11/30/2024, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI, Eating, Activity, and Weight-Related Problems Across the Life Course in Diverse Populations, Principal Investigator
  • 1/25/2016-12/31/2019, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI, "EAT 2010-2018: A Longitudinal, Multi-Contextual Study of Weight-Related Problems," Principal Investigator 
    Read press release
  • 8/12/13-6/30/17, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI, "Project EAT-IV: Eating and Activity in Adolescents and Young Adults," Principal Investigator
  • 12/1/14-11/30/19, National Institutes of Health, NHLBI, "Addressing Unanswered Questions About the Home Environment and Childhood Obesity Disparities," Co-Investigator
  • 7/1/12-6/30/17, Department of Health and Human Services, HRSA, "Leadership Education in Adolescent Health," Training Faculty/Co-Investigator
  • 4/1/10-4/30/20, National Institutes of Health, NIDDK-Ruth L. Kirschtein National Research Service Award, "Minnesota Obesity Prevention Training (MnOPT)," Program Faculty/Mentor


See a full list of my publications on PubMed


  • “I’m, Like, SO Fat!”: Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight Obsessed World." New York: The Guilford Press, 2005.

Select Publications

  • Neumark-Sztainer D, Wall MM, Choi J, Barr-Anderson DJ, Telke S, Mason SM. "Exposure to adverse events and associations with stress levels and the practice of yoga: Survey findings from a population-based study of diverse emerging young adults." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. In press.
  • Piran, N. Neumark-Sztainer D. "Yoga and the experience of embodiment: A discussion of possible links." Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. 2020; Jan 10. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Neumark-Sztainer D, MacLehose RF, Watts AW, Pacanowski C, Eisenberg ME. "Yoga and body image: Findings from a large population-based study of young adults." Body Image. 2018;24:69-75.
  • Neumark-Sztainer D, Wall MM, Chen C, Larson N, Christoph M, Sherwood N. "Eating, activity, and weight-related problems from adolescence to adulthood." American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2018;55(2):133-141.
    Neumark-Sztainer D, Watts A, Rydell S. "Yoga and body image: How do young adults practicing yoga describe its impact on their body image." Body Image. 2018; 27:156-168.
  • Neumark-Sztainer D, MacLehose RF, Watts AW, Eisenberg ME, Laska MN, Larson N. "How is the practice of yoga related to weight status? Population-based findings from Project EAT-IV." Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2017:14(12):905-912.


Academic Interests and Focus

My teaching experience includes a course on community nutrition intervention in which students learn how to develop community-based interventions to improve the nutritional health of the public and a separate course on program evaluation. I am interested in the intersection between the practice of yoga and eating and weight-related concerns and plan to teach a course on yoga and public health in the future.

Community Engagement

Through New Moves, an evidence-based physical education program designed to promote positive self-image, healthy eating, and physical activity in adolescent girls, my research team has collaborated with physical education teachers, school administrators and community groups to incorporate our research findings into their curriculum, including an interactive workbook for students and teacher guidebook. Also, through Project EAT (Eating and Activity Among Teens), we have worked in partnership with area schools, adolescents and young adults in the community, building a body of research that has greatly informed our knowledge base on weight-related problems in diverse young people. We do all this through collaborative research, teaching and service with partners both locally, across Minnesota, and around the world.

I am driven to improve global and community health by fostering partnerships that promote student and faculty engagement, community service, and collaborative and community-based research.



U of MN Health Sciences Expert Link

Health Experts

In The News

SPH News

  • Neumark-Sztainer Guest on Yoga Podcast (Read More)
  • Neumark-Sztainer Earns AED Award
  • Yoga Linked to Improved Body Satisfaction (Read More)
  • Nearly all adolescents have eating, activity or weight-related issues (Read More)
  • NIH Gives $6.5M to Neumark-Sztainer to Study Eating and Weight Issues in Young People (Read More)
  • Dianne Neumark-Sztainer to head Division of Epidemiology & Community Health (Read More)
  • Study Shows Food-insecure Mothers Use Different Parenting Strategies (Read More)
  • Kids exposed to more fat shaming comments on TV than adults (Read More)
  • Study finds workplace environments may contribute to better health among millennials (Read More)
  • School of Public Health hosts conversation about race and policing (Read More)
  • Yoga Improves Body Satisfaction Among Young People (Read More)

In the Media

  • How to teach children about healthy eating, without food shaming (The New York Times)
  • Risk factors for adolescent binge eating vary by family socioeconomic status (Faribault Daily News)
  • Nutrition and Exercise: Radio interview for “Doctor Radio” on Sirius XM
  • 2019’s fattest cities in America (Wallethub)
  • The uphill battle for healthy body habits (Your Teen Magazine)
  • Extreme Dieting in Teens Often Intensifies in Adulthood (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Unhealthy Weight Control Efforts Started In Childhood Persist Into Adulthood (CBS Minnesota)
  • How to Have Better Family Meals (The New York Times)
  • U study: Adolescents having eating, activity issues (KARE 11)
  • Yoga may improve body image, UMN study says (Minnesota Daily)
  • Yoga helps young adults feel better about their bodies, U of M study finds (MinnPost)
  • Yoga may help prevent weight gain, U of M study finds (MinnPost)
  • Teasing teens about weight may do lasting harm. U.S. News & World Report
  • Weight Bias is a Bigger Problem than Some May Think. CNN
  • It's Far Too Early to Label a Young Girl as "Plus" Size. Newsweek
  • Body Positive Yoga: "My Belly is There, I'm Still Strong." The Guardian
  • Should Parents Avoid Commenting on their Child's Weight? Wisconsin Public Radio