Professor Walter Willett

Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard Chan School of Public Health

Walter Willett is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Willett grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a doctorate in public health from Harvard School of Public Health. 

Dr. Willett has focused much of his work over the last 30 years on the development of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.

Dr. Willett has published more than 1,500 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He has also written three books for the general public, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, which has appeared on most major bestseller lists; Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less, co-authored with Mollie Katzen; and most recently, The Fertility Diet, co-authored with Jorge Chavarro and Pat Skerrett.

Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritionist internationally and is among the five most cited persons in all fields of clinical science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research. (Boston, MA)