Erica Kenney, ScD, MPH
Assistant Professor in Nutrition and in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Erica Kenney is an assistant professor at the Harvard Chan School in its Department of Nutrition. Her work focuses on identifying successful, efficient, and cost-effective strategies to help improve children’s healthy eating and physical activity behaviors, and help young children form healthy habits for life. Taking a holistic approach to child health, Dr. Kenney focuses not only on how schools and communities can support healthy eating and physical activity behaviors, but also on how experiencing weight stigmatization as a child in these settings can harm health, such as by increasing risk of disordered weight control behaviors and impairing academic achievement. Dr. Kenney mentored a Harvard Chan Master’s of Science student, Morgan Redman, to conduct a qualitative study of U.S. school teachers and their perspectives on how students with obesity are impacted by weight stigma in the school environment. She also mentored Suzanne Wintner, a Master’s of Public Health graduate from Harvard Chan who also recently completed a doctorate in social work at Simmons College, to complete a national survey of school administrators to document the types of obesity prevention programming that schools utilize and how this may impact weight-based teasing and bullying. Currently, she and her research team are working on a qualitative study of how students experience weight stigma in school settings and how obesity-related school programs can help or hurt.