David Levitsky

Professor at eCornell


  • eCornell




I am driven by medical and economic consequence of age-related weight gain. Age-related weight gain is a description of the epidemiological fact that as we grow older, we are growing fatter. And the fatter we grow, the serious medical consequences become causing increased suffering financial costs. We have been studying obesity for several hundreds of years and despite our knowledge of the consequence of obesity we cannot tell the public how to prevent from growing fatter. I believe that the fundamental premise underlying our understand ing of increasing body weight is wrong - that our eating behavior is not driven by physiological signals act to keep our body weight (fat) constant (set-point). I believe that we are driven more by ubiquitous environmental food stimuli that for us to consume slightly more calories than we expend. Most of my work has been dedicated to studies that (1) show the lack of precision of human eating to imposed energy imbalances, (2) the power of food stimuli (positive food primes) to cause us to eat, and (3) the effectiveness of frequent self-weighing (a negative food prime) to suppress age-related weight gain. I am particularly concerned about the black and latino population because they show the greatest increase in age-related weight gain as well as demonstrate the accompanying medical consequences. I believe that it is possible to use a combination of self-weighing and financial incentives to effectively reduce the weight of the overweight and obese people in our economically poor sector of our population as well as reduce the costs of medically insuring them.


  • B.A. 1964, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (Major, Psychology)
  • M.S. 1966, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in Experimental Psychology (Comparative-Physiological)
  • M.Phil. 1968, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in Experimental Psychology (Comparative?Physiological)
  • Ph.D. 1968, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in Experimental Psychology (Comparative-Physiological)


Courses Taught

Read about executive education

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