Roland Sturm

roland sturm, s9181
Senior Economist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, M.A. in statistics, Stanford University; M.S. in economics, University of Florida

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Roland Sturm is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, where he teaches advanced econometrics. He is the author of 200 scientific publications. Sturm's research has focused on how urban design and neighborhood characteristics affect lifestyles and health; the effects of obesity, physical activity, smoking, and problem drinking on health care costs; and how managed care and policy changes affect behavioral health. He has testified before the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and numerous state legislatures. Sturm received an M.S. in economics from the University of Florida and an M.A. in statistics and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

Recent Projects

  • Microsimulation of Obesity Policies
  • Discrete Choice Experiment on Menu Labeling
  • Eating Better For Less: Evaluating A National Discount Program on Healthy Food Purchases in South Africa
  • Behavioral Economics: Incentives for Preventive Care
  • The effect of urban design, neighborhood characteristics, and the food environment on lifestyles, health outcomes, and health care costs

Selected Publications

Sturm R, Hattori A, "Diet and obesity in Los Angeles County 2007-2012: Is there a measurable effect of the 2008," Soc Sci Med, 2015

Sturm R, An R, "Obesity and economic environments," CA Cancer J Clin, 64(5), 2014

Sturm R, An R, Segal D, Patel P, "A cash-back rebate program for healthy food purchases in South Africa: results from scanner data," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(6):567-572, 2013

An R, Sturm R, "School and Residential Neighborhood Food Environment and Diet Among California Youth," American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 42(2):129-35, 2012

Sturm R, Powell LM, Chriqui JF, Chaloupka FJ, "Soda Taxes, Soft Drink Consumption, and Children's Body Mass Index," Health Affairs, 29(5):1052-8, 2010

Sturm R, Cohen DA, "Zoning for Health? The Year-old Ban On New Fast-Food Restaurants in South Los Angeles," Health Affairs, 28(6):w1088-98, 2009

R. Sturm, "Stemming the Global Obesity Epidemic: What Can We Learn From Data about Social and Economic Trends," Public Health, 122(8):1140-1143, 2008

Wells KB, Sturm R, Sherbourne CD, Meredith LS, Caring For Depression, Harvard University Press

Honors & Awards

  • Award for Excellence in Health Services Research, National Institute of Health Care Management
  • Willard Manning Award in Health Policy and Economic Research, ICMPE
  • Edwin E. and Mary T. Huddleson Outstanding Teacher Award, Pardee RAND Graduate School of Policy Analysis

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: ABC; Associated Press; Chicago Sun-Times; CNN; Health & Medicine Week; KCRW-FM; KNX-AM; Los Angeles Times; NBC Nightly News; New York Times;; NPR; Reuters; Scripps Howard News Service; USA Today; Wall Street Journal; Marketplace Radio; Washington Post


  • People serving themselves at a restaurant buffet

    Five Myths About American Obesity

    Two in three Americans are overweight or obese. There are many popular theories about what's causing the obesity epidemic, but many are not supported by data. What's clear is that most U.S. adults eat too many calories.

    Mar 13, 2017 Politico

  • Shopping basket in supermarket

    What's Behind the Obesity Epidemic? Easily Accessible Food, and Lots of It

    That no group is immune to rising obesity rates suggests that universal environmental factors are driving the trend. The clearest change concerns food availability and cost.

    Jul 22, 2014 The Health Care Blog

  • father and son shopping for produce

    Eating Better for Less

    A combination of things might well slow the obesity epidemic while also improving the American people's overall nutritional well-being: lowering prices on healthier food, initiatives to control portion sizes, and a long-term campaign to support better food quality.

    May 28, 2013 Modern Healthcare

  • Worth Its Weight in Gold?

    In terms of healthcare use and chronic health conditions, obesity is comparable to aging 20 years, with the health of a 30 year old resembling that of a 50 year old, writes Roland Sturm.

    Apr 21, 2011 Public Service Review: European Union