Jeffery Sobal

Web Bio Page

Current Activities

Current Professional Activities
International Advisory Board, Food, Culture, and Society
Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS)
Cornell University, Graduate Field Memberships: Nutrition; Development Sociology; Epidemiology

Current Research Activities
Marriage and Body Weight, Food Choice Processes, Commensality, Food/Nutrition Systems


Biographical Statement
I received an undergraduate degree in biology in 1972, focusing on population biology, ecology, and animal behavior. I completed a masters in sociology with an emphasis in social psychology in 1974, a doctorate in sociology in 1978 with an emphasis in urban sociology, and a masters in public health in 1983 with an emphasis on behavioral sciences, epidemiology, and nutrition. The focus of my work is on the social aspects of food, eating, and nutrition. I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the interdisciplinary area of social science analysis of food, eating, and nutrition since 1979. I first taught at Gettysburg College, then the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and currently teach in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. My research examines several aspects of social science nutrition, particularly social patterns of obesity (especially marriage and body weight), food choice processes, commensality, and food systems analysis. I attempt to bring to bear a variety of social science theories and methods to better understand food and nutrition.

  • BA 1972 - Bucknell University (Biology)
  • MA 1974 - University of Pennsylvania (Sociology) 
  • MPH 1983 - Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health (Nutrition and Epidemiology)
  • PhD 1978 - University of Pennsylvania (Sociology)

  • Administrative Responsibilities
    In 2009 at Cornell University I was a member of the university Educational Policy Committee (EPC).  In the College of Human Ecology I chaired the Dean's Fellowship in the History of Home Economics Committee, was elected to and served on the Mann Library Committee to represent the College of Human Ecology. In the Division of Nutritional Sciences I chaired the Small Grants Committee and served on a faculty mentoring committee.

    Sociology, Obesity, Food Choice

    Courses, Websites, Pubs

    Courses Taught

    NS 245 - Social Science Perspectives on Food and Nutrition

    NS 640 - Social Science Theories in Nutrition

    NS 703 - Seminar in Nutritional Sciences

    Related Websites

    DNS Home Page

    Selected Publications
    Bove, C.F., Sobal, J., Rauschenbach, B.S. Food choices among newly married couples: Convergence, conflict, individualism, and projects. Appetite 2003:40:25-41.

    Sobal, J., Khan, L.K., Bisogni, C.A. A conceptual model of the food and nutrition system. Social Science and Medicine 1998;47(7):853-63.

    Sobal, J., Rauschenbach, B., Frongillo, E.A. Marital status changes and body weight changes: A U.S. longitudinal analysis. Social Science and Medicine 2003:56(7):1543-1555.

    Sobal, J., Nelson, M.K. Commensal eating patterns: A community study. Appetite 2003:41:181-190.

    Sobal, J., Wansink, B. Kitchenscapes, tablescapes, platescapes, and foodscapes: Influences of micro-level built environments on food intake. Environment and Behavior 2007;39(1):124-142.

    Sobal, J., Bisogni, C.A., Devine, C.M., and Jastran, M. A conceptual model of the food choice process over the life course. In: Shepherd, R. and Raats, M. (eds). The psychology of food choice. Cambridge MA: CABI Publishing. 2006. pp 1-18.

    Sobal, J. and Maurer, D. (eds). Weighty Issues: Fatness and Thinness as Social Problems. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruytter. 1999.

    Sobal, J. and Maurer, D. (eds). Interpreting Weight: Social Management of Fatness and Thinness. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter. 1999.