Gillings School Directory

Lindsey Smith Taillie, PhD

Lindsey Smith Taillie

Lindsey Smith Taillie, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition
Associate Chair of Academics
Department of Nutrition

Dr. Lindsey Smith Taillie is a nutrition epidemiologist whose work focuses on evaluating food policy efforts in the US and globally, and how these influence disparities in diet and obesity. Her work uses a combination of randomized controlled trials and natural experimental studies using large datasets on food purchases and intake to evaluate and inform food policy to prevent obesity.

Internationally, current projects focus on evaluating sugary beverage taxes, front-of-package warning labels, and marketing restrictions in a number of Latin American countries, including Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru. These projects involve the collection and analysis of data on food purchases and intake as well as data on the food supply, such as product reformulation and food marketing on television and on packages. The goal of these projects is to understand the real-world impact of policies on the food environment, food behavior, and ultimately, health outcomes.

In the US, her research focuses on changes in marketing and labeling of unhealthy foods and beverages, their association with the nutritional profile of food purchases and disparities in food purchases, and whether marketing and labeling policies can help consumers make healthier choices, especially in vulnerable populations such as Latino and low-income parents. Currently, Dr. Taillie is leading an RWJF-funded project to examine the impact of nutrition claims on racial-ethnic disparities in fruit drink purchases among parents. Along with colleagues in Health Behavior, she is also leading additional studies to develop and test the impact of pictorial warning labels and taxes on sugary beverage purchases and intake among Latino parents in North Carolina. As part of these projects, Dr. Taillie is developing the UNC Mini Mart, located at HPDP, which is designed to look like a real food store where people can buy and take home food and drinks for their families. The goal of the Mini Mart is to be able to design and test which types of food retail policies and interventions will encourage parents to make healthier choices.

Dr. Taillie is also leading a new Wellcome Trust-funded project to examine the impact of policies to reduce red and processed meat intake as a strategy to prevent climate change and reduce non-communicable disease.

Finally, Dr. Taillie has also conducted a number of studies on the nutrition transition in China, including fieldwork on diet behaviors and diet assessment technology. She also conducts nutrition epidemiology studies on food behaviors, diet intake, and obesity using large population-level datasets such as the National Health and Nutrition Survey and American Time Use Study.

Dr. Taillie received her PhD in nutrition with a minor in epidemiology from UNC-Chapel Hill, her MPH with a concentration in social-behavioral sciences from Yale School of Public Health, and her BA in Sociology from Northwestern University.

Honors and Awards

Carolina Asia Center Curriculum/Course Development Grant

2015, UNC

Finalist, American Society for Nutrition Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science at Experimental Biology Conference

2015, ASN

Explorations in Global in Global Health Grant Recipient

2015, UNC

Research Interests

  • Behavior Science
  • Health Equity
  • Nutrition and Physical Activity
  • Obesity
  • Public Health Ethics and Law
  • Public Health Studies (Design, Conduct and Analysis)

Key Publications

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation and racial/ethnic disparities in food and beverage purchases. Grummon A, Taillie LS*. (2018). Public Health Nutrition..

No Fat, No Sugar, No Salt ... No Problem? Prevalence of “Low-Content” Nutrient Claims and Their Associations with the Nutritional Profile of Food and Beverage Purchases in the United States. Taillie LS*, Ng SW, Xue Y, Busey E, Harding, M. (2017). Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics., 117(9), 1366-74.

Chile's 2014 sugar-sweetened beverage tax and changes in prices and purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages: An observational study in an urban environment. Caro JC, Silva A, Popkin BM, Corvalan C, Reyes M, Taillie LS*.  (2018). Plos Medicine., 15(7), 840-846.
View publication

Do high vs. low purchasers respond differently to a nonessential energy-dense food tax? Two-year evaluation of Mexico's 8% nonessential food tax. Taillie, L. S., J. A. Rivera, B. M. Popkin and C. Batis.  (2017). Preventive Medicine., 105(Supplement), S37-S42.

Best practices for using natural experiments to evaluate retail food and beverage policies and interventions. Taillie LS, Grummon AH, Fleischhacker S, Grigsby-Toussaint D, Leone L, Caspi C. (2017). Nutrition Reviews., 75(12), 971-989.


PhD, Nutrition, minor in Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2014

MPH, Social-behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health, 2011

BA (with honors), Sociology, Northwestern University, 2007

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