David Levitsky


David Levitsky

112 Savage Hall
Phone: (607) 255-3263
Email: dal4@cornell.edu
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Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Received all degrees from Rutgers University. Arrived at Cornell in 1968 as Post-Doctoral Fellow for two years before becoming an Assistant Professor. I have been a full professor since 1986.Throughout my professional life I have been studying the control of food intake and regulation of body weight. I love both teaching and research.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

I love teaching nutrition. It represents my philosophy of world understanding: to really understand a subject you must be able to view it from various perspectives. For any given nutritional problem one must have an understanding of not only the biology of the human body (biochemistry, physiology, physics, anatomy) but also the social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science), particularly if the goal of teaching is to prepare minds that will seek solutions to these problems. It is wonderful to witness the results of opening these bright Cornell undergraduates to this global perspective of issues that relate to common behaviors such as eating and exercise. I have been teaching introductory nutrition for, at least, the 20 years, and I never tire of the excitement and enthusiasm my lectures elicit in my students when I explain how these overlapping systems work together to produce their results. Nor do I tire of seeking the most up-to-date information before each lecture to provide the students with a sense of living history and relevance to today’s society.

I maintain the same level of enthusiasm for my advising. Here, I am more interested in the guiding the students towards finding a path in their life. I pride myself in becoming their  “confident”  meaning that they can reach me at any time to talk, discussing any issues they may have, or being their advocate in any problem involving in the university. 

Current Professional Activities:

Teaching, Researching, Writing, Reviewing, Consulting

Current Research Activities:

My students and I are currently investigating (a) the efficacy of a weight monitoring program called Caloric Titration as a means of safely losing and maintaining weight loss (b) examining the effect of being weighed before eating on amount of food consumed at a meal in the laboratory, (b) examining the effect of being weighed before eating on amount and kind of foods purchased in the dining hall, (c) examining the effectiveness of frequent self-weighing to prevent  four year weight gain of Cornell freshman,  (d) evaluate the results of a study on the effect of memory on amount of food consumed, (e) the effects of being a restrained eater on the resistence to food primes,  (f) evaluate the results of talking about food on snack consumption (positive prime) (g) evaluate the results of talking health on snack consumption (negative prime), (h) effects of feeding a meal on the perceptual threshold of food and non-food words, (i) examining the effects of introducing scales in the bathrooms of freshman dormatories on weight gain, (j) examine the effects of energy drinks on cognitive performance.

Courses Taught:

NS 1150 Nutrition, Society, and Health

NS 3150 Obesity and the Regulation of Body Weight

Administrative Responsibilities:

Faculty Chair Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence

Selected Publications:


 Levitsky DA, Editor. Malnutrition, Environment, and Behavior: New Perspectives. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, N,Y 1979.

 Garrison, TN with David Levitsky. Fed-up!: A woman’s guide to freedom from the diet/weight prison. Carroll & Graf: New York, 1993.

 Chapters in Books

 Levitsky DA, Barnes RH. Malnutrition and the biology of experience. In:Nutrition, Chavez A, Bourges H, Basta S, Eds. Proc 9th Internat Congr Nutrition, Mexico, 1972. S Karger: Basel, 1975;2:330-34.

 Levitsky DA. Malnutrition and animal models of cognitive development. In: Nutrition and Mental Functions. Plenum Press:New York, 1975;75-89.

 Levitsky DA. Malnutrition and the hunger to learn. In: Levitsky DA, Ed. Malnutrition, Environment, and Behavior: New Perspectives. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY, 1979.

 Levitsky DA. Drugs, appetite, and body weight. In: Roe DA, Campbell TC, Eds. Effects of Drugs and Nutrients. Marcel Dekker: New York, 1984.

 Levitsky DA, Strupp BJ. Nutritional deficiencies and cognition. In:Cognitive Testing Methodology, National Academy Press, 1986;81-100.

 Levitsky DA, Strupp BJ. Imprecise control of food intake on low-fat diets. In: Fernstrom JD, Miller GD, Eds. Appetite and Body Weight Regulation: Sugar, Fat, and Macronutrient substitutes. CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 1993;179-190.

 Levitsky DA, Strupp BJ. Nutrition and the behavior of children. In: Suskind RM, Ed. Textbook of Pediatric Nutrition, 2nd ed. Raven Press: New York, 1994; 107-114.

 Levitsky, D. Diet drugs gain popularity: Risks and benefits of fenfluramine. Healthy Weight Journal 11:1:8-12, 1997.

 Levitsky, D. A. Macronutrients and the Control of Body Weight. In: Coulston AM, Rock CL, Monsen ER. Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease. Academic Press: San Diego, 2008 (second edition)

 Levitsky, D. A. The Control of Food Intake and the Regulation of Body Weight in Humans. In: Harris, RBS, Mattes, R. Appetite and Food Intake: Behavioral and Physiological Considerations.CRC Press: Boca Raton, 2008

 Speakman, J. and Levitsky, D. A.  The Aetiology of Obesity: genetics or environment, intake or expenditure. Williams, G, Fruhbeck, G. Obesity: science to practice. Willey-Blackwell, 2009.

 Levitsky, D.A. The control of eating: is there any function for satiation and satiety? In: Satiation, satiety and the control of food intake: theory and practice. Blundell, J.E. and Bellise, F. (ed) 2013, Woodhead Publishing, Ltd. 

 Scientific Publications

Collier G, Levitsky D. Defense of water balance in rats: Behavioral and physiological responses to depletion. J Comp Physiol 1967;64:59-67.

 Levitsky DA, Collier G. Effects of diet and deprivation on meal eating behavior in rats. Physiol Behav 1968;3:137-40.

 Levitsky DA, Barnes RH. Effect of early malnutrition on the reaction of adult rats to aversive stimuli. Nature 1970;225:468-69.

 Im HS, Barnes RH, Levitsky DA. Postnatal malnutrition and brain cholinesterase in rats. Nature 1971;233:269-70.

 Levitsky DA, Barnes RH. Nutritional and environmental interactions in the behavioral development of the rat: long-term effects. Science 1972;176:68-71.

 Kratz CM, Levitsky DA, Lustick SL. Long term effects of quinine on food intake and body weight in the rat. Physiol Behav 1978;21:321-24.

 Levitsky DA, Strupp B, and Lupoli, J. Tolerance to anorectic drugs: Pharmacological or artifactual. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1981;14:661-67.

 Strupp BJ, Levitsky DA. PKU, learning, and models of mental retardation. Develop Psychobiol 1984;17:109-20.

 Lissner L, Stevens J, Levitsky DA, Rasmussen KM, Strupp BJ. Variations in energy intake during the menstrual cycle: implications for food-intake research. Am J Clin Nutr 1988;48:956-62.

 Kendall A, Levitsky DA, Strupp BJ, Lissner L. Weight loss on a low fat diet: Consequence of the imprecision of the control of food intake in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:1124-29.

 Levitsky DA, Strupp BJ. Malnutrition and the brain: Changing concepts, changing concerns. J. Nut. 1995; 125: 2212S-2220S.

 Troiano R P, Frongillo EA Jr, Sobal J, Levitsky D A. The relationship between body weight and mortality: A quantitative analysis of combined information from existing studies. Intern. J. Obesity, 1996; 20: 63-75.

 Levitsky, D. Putting Behavior back into Feeding Behavior: A Tribute to George Collier. Appetite 2001; 38, 1-6.

 Levitsky DA. The future of school feeding programs. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 2005, 26(2), S286-S287.

 Levitsky DA, Garay J, Nausbaum M, Neighbors L, DellaValle DM. Monitoring weight daily blocks the freshman weight gain: A model for combating the epidemic of obesity. Int J Obes (Lond) 2006;30:1003-10.

 Levitsky, D.A., DeRosimo, L. One day of food restriction does not result in an increase in subsequent daily food intake in humans.Physiol Behav, 2010; 99 (4), 495-499.

 Levitsky, D.A., Pacanowski, C.R. Losing weight without dieting: Use of commercial foods as meal replacements for lunch produces an extended energy deficit. Appetite, 2011, 57(2), 311-317.

 Levitsky, D.A. Paconowki, C.R. Free Will and the Obesity Epidemic. J. Public Health Nutr. , 2011; 15(1), 126-141.

 Speakman, J.R., Levitsky, D.A., Allison, D.B., Bray, M.S., de Castro, J.M., Clegg, D.J., Clapham, J.C., Dullo, A.G., Gruer, L., Haw, S., Hebebrand, J., Hetherington, M.M., Higgs, S., Jebb, S.A., Loos, R.J., Luckman, S., Luke, A., Mohammed-Ali, V., O’Rahilly, S., Pereira, M., Perusse, L., Robinson, T.N., Rolls, B., Symonds, M.E., Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S. Set points, settling points and some alternative models: theoretical options to understand how genes and evironments combine to regulate body adiposity. Dis. Model. Mech., 2011, 4, 6, 733-745.

 Levitsky,D.A.; Iyer,S.; Pacanowski,C.R., Number of foods available at a meal determines the amount consumed.Eat.Behav., 2012, 13, 3, 183-187.

 Levitsky,D.A.; Pacanowski,C.R.., Effect of skipping breakfast on subsequent energy intake., Physiol. Behav.2013, 119, 9-16.

Krista Casazza, Andrew Brown, Arne Astrup, et al. :Weighing the evidence of common beliefs in obesity research. Crit.Rev.Food Sci.Nutr.2014,00-00.

David A. Levitsky, Andrew W. Brown, Barbara C. Hansen, et al. :An Unjustified Conclusion from Self-report-based Estimates of Energy Intake. Am.J.Med.2014,127:e33.

D. A. Levitsky. :Next will be apple pie. Am.J.Clin.Nutr.2014,100:503-504

Carly R. Pacanowski, Fredrik Bertz and David A. Levitsky. :Daily Self-Weighing to Control Body Weight in Adults A Critical Review of the Literature. SAGE Open2014,4:2158244014556992.

Olabi, A., DA Levitsky, JB Hunter, R. Spies, AP Rovers and L. Abdouni. :Food and mood: A nutritional and mood assessment of a 30-day vegan space diet. Food Quality and Preference2015,40:110-115.

Searchable Keywords:
Obesity, eating behavior, weight control

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.