Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Big Food - Yale Peabody Museum Exhibition

Food is fundamental to life. Yet our eating habits have become incredibly complex, involving many aspects of daily life far beyond addressing simple nutritional needs. Our world is characterized by environments that promote increased consumption of unhealthy food and sedentary lifestyles; over-nutrition and obesity now surpass under-nourishment as the world's leading food and nutrition problem.

To address how human biology and behavior interact with social, environmental, and cultural forces to influence what we eat, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale's Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), and the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity collaborated to create an engaging exhibition called Big Food: Health, Culture and the Evolution of Eating.

Using an engaging multi-media and family-friendly approach, visitors investigated the origins of humans as hunter-gatherers; explored societal pressures such as the progressive growth of portion sizes; tackled media influences on food preferences; learned about online marketing of food and beverages to youth and teens; and considered serious health consequences that have increased the burden of chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. The exhibit concluded with a challenge for visitors to reflect on their role in personal and community health and the sustainability of our food system.

Big Food exhibited in February-December 2012 at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Listen to a podcast on the exhibit with Jeannette Ickovics from CARE and Marlene Schwartz and Kelly Brownell from the Rudd Center and watch the video below to learn more.