Miriam Nelson, PhD is professor of Nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and founder and director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention at Tufts University.
As a leader in research targeting women’s health, Dr. Nelson has published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and elsewhere on the impact of both nutrition and exercise on the prevention of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
Based on her seminal study on the benefits of strength training for older women and subsequent innovative research, Dr. Nelson has published nine books including Strong Women Stay Young and four other New York Times bestsellers. These books, published in fourteen languages, have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Her tenth book, The Social Network Diet: Change Yourself, Change the World, was published September 2011. Dr. Nelson’s research has been the foundation of the StrongWomen Program, a community based nutrition and exercise program for midlife and older women currently being implemented in over thirty-five states.
As founder and director of the John Hancock Research Center, Dr. Nelson has assembled a world-class faculty and staff focused on innovative research, training future leaders, and influencing public policy to improve the nation’s food and physical environment. Through its research and outreach, the center has trained over 5,600 allied health professionals and community partners to implement healthy change in their communities. Tens of thousands of individuals from forty states have participated directly in the Children in Balance and StrongWomen research initiatives. First Lady Michelle Obama highlighted the center’s work at the Lets Move launch as best practices for community change.
In addition to her academic work, Dr. Nelson has contributed broadly to public policy initiatives and public relations. In 2007 and 2008 Dr. Nelson served as the vice chair of the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee for the US Department of Health and Human Services. Most recently, she served on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services.
She has appeared in her own PBS special entitled Strong Women Live Well and has been featured on other television and radio shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC Nightly News, CNN, Fresh Air, and the Discovery Channel.
Dr. Nelson has received numerous fellowships and awards for her work. She was awarded a prestigious Congressional Research Fellowship in 1987 and worked as US Senator Leahy’s Legislative Assistant on Health and Human Services. In 1994, she received a Brookdale National Fellowship and in 1997 a Bunting Fellowship from Radcliffe College. In 2006, Dr. Nelson received the Honors award from the American Medical Writers’ Association and in 2008 she received the University of Vermont’s Alumni Achievement Award.