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Sara Benjamin Neelon

SARA BENJAMIN NEELON, PhD, MPH, RD, is the inaugural holder of The Helaine and Sidney Lerner Professorship and director of the Johns Hopkins Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society. Dr. Benjamin Neelon is a child nutritionist trained in dietary intervention research. Her focus is on policy and environmental approaches to obesity prevention in vulnerable populations. Her studies target young children and women during pregnancy, with several focusing on child care and school environments. She has advanced training in pediatric and public health nutrition and experience coordinating epidemiologic and community-based intervention studies. Her current research pertains to early childhood obesity prevention and community and family health promotion in the Southeastern United States. She also works internationally, recently completing a study in Kenya examining the effect of school-based gardens on children’s dietary intake, and another in Mexico examining physical activity and outdoor play in young children. In addition, she has led a project in which she graded all the states in the nation in terms of their obesity and exercise policies. Dr. Benjamin Neelon completed a PhD and MPH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. She is an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge.