Elena Serrano

Associate Professor - Human Nutrition, Foods, & Exercise

Department Website



Dr. Serrano evaluates the effectiveness of programs, policies, and practices to address childhood obesity, including menu labeling of children’s meals at restaurants, school-based initiatives and wellness policies, cooperative extension programs, and community food systems.


Modern society dictates a busy life, but according to Dr. Serrano, our food choices don’t have to suffer.  For one project, Dr. Serrano is analyzing children’s menus and finding that there is a lot of room for improvement. She is working with several local restaurants to improve menu choices and to inform adults and children about calorie and fat amounts in restaurant foods. For another project, Dr. Serrano is collaborating with Mary McFerren, Director of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), and George Davis in Agricultural and Applied Economics, to evaluate how effective the program is in changing dietary and physical activity behavior, and then to determine the cost of acquiring the related impacts. Another project with McFerren and a researcher at Temple University involves testing the effect of plate, cup, and utensil sizes on intakes of solid fat and added sugars among preschoolers and their mothers. She is also working on various community system projects, seeking to bring fresh food from the farm directly to childcare centers and K-12 schools.