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Sara Benjamin Neelon, PhD

  • The Helaine and Sidney Lerner Professor
  • Director of the Lerner Center
  • Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

615 N. Wolfe Street
Room W3041
Baltimore, Maryland 21205


View Current Courses


JD, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, 2017
PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2006
MPH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002
BS, Ithaca College, 1995


Dr. Benjamin Neelon is also an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research, MRC Epidemiology, University of Cambridge.  Please see: for more information.

  • Community-based interventions targeting children and families
  • Domestic and global chronic disease prevention
  • Health disparities in early life feeding, physical activity, sleep, and stress
  • Epigenetic and environmental changes affecting child growth
  • Evaluation of natural experiments to create healthier food and physical activity environments
  • Evaluation of nutrition and physical activity policy change
  • Health equity
  • Legal analysis
  • Food insecurity and health
  • Population-based dietary assessment

Some recent publications

  • Benjamin-Neelon SE, Bai J, Østbye T, Neelon B, Pate RR, Crainiceanu C. Physical activity and adiposity in a racially diverse cohort of US infants. Obesity. Obesity. 2020;28(3)631-637. PMCID forthcoming.
  • Gonzalez-Nahm S, Grossman ER, Benjamin-Neelon SE. The role of equity in US state breastfeeding policies. JAMA Pediatrics. 2019 Aug 12. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.2582. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Benjamin-Neelon SE, Hecht AA, Burgoine T, Adams J. Perceived barriers to fruit and vegetable gardens in early years settings in England: Results from a cross-sectional survey of nurseries. Nutrients. 2019;11(12). No PMCID.
  • Benjamin-Neelon SE, Platt A, Bacardí-Gascón M, Armstrong S, Neelon B, Jiménez-Cruz A. Greenspace, physical activity, and BMI in children from two cities in northern Mexico. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2019;14:100870. PMCID forthcoming.
  • Benjamin Neelon SE, White AJ, Vidal AC, Schildkraut JM, Murtha AP, Murphy SK, Kullman SW, Hoyo C. Maternal vitamin D, DNA methylation at imprint regulatory regions, and offspring weight at birth, 1 year, and 3 years. International Journal of Obesity. 2018;42(4):587-593.
  • Analysis of baby friendly hospitals: Assessing coverage among vulnerable communities
  • Early child care and risk of obesity
  • Evaluation of South Carolina nutrition and physical activity policy
  • Licensing laws supporting healthy feeding and active play for infants and toddlers in early care and education
  • Maryland Statewide Initiative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems
  • Nutrition policy for healthy meals in early childhood: Impacts on diet quality and food waste
  • Preventing obesity in infants and toddlers in child care