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Frederick Zimmerman

Photo of Health Policy & Management Chair Dr. Fred Zimmerman
Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management


DepartmentsType of Faculty
Health Policy and ManagementFull Time
Contact Information

31-236B CHS

Frederick J. Zimmerman is an economist with a background in institutional and behavioral economics. His research illuminates the intersection of economics and the determinants of health.  Dr. Zimmerman also teaches and does research in ethical aspects of public health policy.

Dr. Zimmerman has a particular interest in how economic structure—including poverty and inequality—influence population health.   Research topics have included the effects of media on child health; the effects of food marketing on obesity; and the opportunity costs of medical spending; and the political economy of health and social policy.  He has integrated economic, sociological, and psychological perspectives of behavior into a multi-level theory that unifies both individual and population-level determinants of health.  His current research is in the UCLA Center for Health Advancement, where he is developing a simulation model of the impact of health and social policy on population health, high-school graduation rates, crime rates, and local government finances for several jurisdictions around the country.

Dr. Zimmerman’s research has been profiled in the New York Times, on NPR, the BBC, Radio France Internationale and many other media outlets.  He blogs on Public Health Advances at

Dr. Zimmerman teaches classes on Advanced Statistical Research Methods, Determinants of Health, and Public Health Ethics. 


PhD, University of Wisconsin
Selected Publications: 
  • Selena Ortiz, Frederick J. Zimmerman and Franklin D. Gilliam. Weighing In: The Taste-Engineering Frame in Obesity Expert Discourse (forthcoming in the American Journal of Public Health)
  • Frederick J. Zimmerman and Sandhya Shimoga. The Effects of Food Advertising and Cognitive Load on Food Choices. BMC Public Health, 14(1): 342. 2014.
  • Donglan Zhang, Philippe J. Giabbanelli, Onyebuchi Arah and Frederick J. Zimmer- man. Impact of Different Policies on Unhealthy Dietary Behaviors in an Urban Adult Population: An Agent-based Simulation Model American Journal of Public Health 104(7): 1217-1222. July, 2014.
  • Zimmerman, Frederick J. "Habit, custom, and power: A multi-level theory of population health." Social Science & Medicine 80 (2013): 47-56.
  • Jeffrey C. McCullough, Frederick J. Zimmerman, Jonathan E. Fielding and Steven M. Teutsch. A Health Dividend for America: The Opportunity Cost of Excess Medical Expenditures. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 43(6):650-654. December, 2012.
  • Åsa Ljungvall and Frederick J. Zimmerman. Long-term Time Trends and Disparities in Body-mass Index among U.S. Adults 1960–2008. Social Science & Medicine 75(1):109- 119. July, 2012.
  • Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA, Meltzoff AN. Associations Between Media Viewing and Language Development Among Children Under 2 Years Old Journal of Pediatrics 2007 Oct;151(4):364-8.
  • Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA, Meltzoff AN. Media Viewing by Children Under 2 Years Old. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007 May; 161(5):473-479.
  • Zimmerman FJ and Christakis DA. Children's Television Viewing and Cognitive Outcomes: A Longitudinal Analysis of National Data. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 159(7):619-625. July, 2005.
  • Zimmerman FJ, Carter MR. Asset Smoothing, Consumption Smoothing and the Reproduction of Inequality under Risk and Subsistence Constraints. Journal of Development Economics 2003 (August) 71(2): 233-260.
Additional Materials (Downloads):