Nancy M. Childs, Ph.D.

Professor, Gerald E. Peck Fellow

Areas Taught: Food Marketing, International Business

Expertise: consumer behavior, food policy, food safety, obesity, labeling

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Advancing a more nutritious nation…

Advocates of healthy eating have found a sympathetic ear in the White House, which through health care reform and related initiatives, has encouraged a more nutritious and sustainable food supply. The most vocal advocate thus far has been Michelle Obama, who has emphasized the need for fresh and locally grown food.

Nancy Childs, a professor of food marketing, is assisting the White House realize this goal as a working committee member. In her role as the national representative for food retailing and marketing, Childs works with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Secretary to oversee top priorities in her role on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economic Advisory Board.

“This administration is thinking about food in a more sophisticated way than ever before,” says Childs, who shared the USDA’s priorities moving forward: global food security and hunger; climate change; sustainable energy; childhood obesity; reducing sodium consumption; expanding export markets for healthy foods; and food safety.

A marketer and consumer researcher, Childs is excited because she believes the board’s interests are closer in line with consumer behavior than they have been in the past.

“My goal is to support the consumer with clear and credible information about healthy food choices,” she says. “At the same time, we need to encourage a vibrant and innovative the food industry to meet these needs.”

Childs has a long career as a researcher with expertise in food marketing, labeling, obesity, safety and policy. She is a member of the White House’s working committee to develop healthier communication messages to avoid obesity. Childs also serves the Pennsylvania Governor’s Food Safety Advisory Board and has past committee appointments with the Food and Drug Administration and the National Academy of Sciences.

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