Profile page for: Mary McKenna | UNB

Mary McKenna

Professor (Sabbatical leave)


Kinesiology, Faculty of

KIN 305

1 506 451 6872

Other titles

Assistant Dean, School of Graduate Studies

Research interests

  • school nutrition
  • school nutrition policy
  • healthy eating for children


Mary McKenna, PhD, is a Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton. She joined the Faculty in 2006 and teaches nutrition, wellness, and health promotion. Dr. McKenna's research focuses primarily on school nutrition policy. She has experience in policy development, implementation, and evaluation and has consulted for the World Health Organization on the topic.

Dr. McKenna has given over 100 presentations at the international, national, and local level. From 2003-2006, Dr. McKenna worked as a Health Scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. From 1986-2003, she taught in the Faculty of Education at UNB. Dr. McKenna is a member of the scientific advisory board of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest (Canada), on the board of the NB Heart and Stroke foundation, and a member of the NB Minister's Roundtable on Agriculture.

Current research projects

  • conducting a national survey of organizations that fund school nutrition programs
  • conducting a needs assessment to assist with the formation of Farm to Cafeteria Canada, a national network to support farm-food connections
  • assisting with data collection and analysis to evaluate school nutrition policy and school breakfast programs in Prince Edward Island
  • assisting with workplace wellness evaluation.


Journal articles

McKenna, ML. Policy options to support healthy eating in schools. Canadian Journal of Public Health. (101) Supp 2: S14-S17 (2010).

Taylor, J.P., McKenna, M.L., Butler, G.P. Monitoring and evaluating school nutrition and physical activity policies. Canadian Journal of Public health (101) Supp 2: S24-S27 (2010).

MacLellan D., Holland, A., Taylor, J. McKenna, M. Hernandez, K. Implementing school nutrition policy: Student and parent perspectives. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research 71 (4): 172-7 (2010).

Mullaly, M.L., Taylor, J.P., Kuhle, S., Bryanton, J. Hernandez, K.J., MacLellan, D.L., McKenna, M.L., Gray, R.J., Veugelers, P.J. A province-wide school nutrition policy and food consumption in elementary school children in Prince Edward Island. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 101(1): 40-43 (2010).

Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinold C, Thompson D, Grummer-Strawn L. BMI Measurement in Schools. Pediatrics. 124(Suppl 1):S89-97. (Pediatrics invited us to publish an article similar to the 2007 BMI article) (2009).

Lowry R, Lee SM, McKenna ML, Galuska DA, Kann LK. Weight Management and Fruit and Vegetable Intake among US High School Students. Journal of School Health. 78(8): 417-24 (2008).

Mâsse L, Frosh M, Chriqui J, Yaroch A, Agurs-Collins T, Blanck H, Atienza A, McKenna M, Igoe J. Development of a School Nutrition–Environment State Policy Classification System (SNESPCS). American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 33 (4): S277-S291 (2008).

Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler, H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinood C, Thompson D, Grumer-Strawn L. Body mass index in schools. Journal of School Health 77(10): 651-71 (2007).

Schneider DJ, May G, Carithers T, Coyle K, Potter S, Endahl J, Robin L, McKenna M, Debrot K, Seymour J. Evaluation of a fruit and vegetable distribution program – Mississippi – 2004-2005 school year. MMWR Weekly 55(35): 957-961 (2006).

Article reprinted in JAMA 2006; 296(15): 1833-1834. Vol. 296 No. 15, October 1806

Brener NB, Kann L, Lee S, McKenna ML, Wechsler H, Fulton JE, Galuska DA. Secondary school health education related to nutrition and physical activity – selected sites, United States, 2004. MMWR Weekly 55(30): 821-824 (2006).

vBrener ND, Pejavara A, Barrios L, Crossett L, Lee SM, McKenna M, Michael S, Wechsler H. Applying the School Health Index to a national representative sample of schools. Journal of School Health; 76(2): 57-66 (2006).

Presentations and posters for professional and technical Meetings

McKenna, M.L. Healthy Eating Environments in Schools. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Moving Policy Recommendations to Action (organized by the Canadian Partnership against Cancer), Ottawa, ON (2011).

McKenna, M.L. School Nutrition Policy in New Brunswick. Championing Public Health Nutrition (CSPI), Ottawa, ON (2010).

Bays, J., Nikkel, L., Stahlbrand, L., McKenna, M.L. Northern Roots: Canada Digs In! Farm to Cafeteria Conference, Detroit, MI (2010).

Taylor J, MacLellan D, Veugelers P, Caiger J, McKenna ML. Implementing and Evaluating School Nutrition Policies in Canada: The SNAP Project. International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Lisbon, Portugal (discussant) (2009).

McKenna ML. Organizational and Institutional Policy and Capacity. Settings for All Conference (Canadian Association of School Health, Gatineau, QC (2009).

McKenna ML. What’s for Lunch? Translating School Nutrition Policies into ACTION. Ontario Society for Nutrition Professionals in Public Health, Toronto, ON (2009).

McKenna, ML. Evaluation: Making Results Count. Breakfast for Learning Regional Gathering, Halifax, NS (2009).

Taylor J, McKenna ML, Fieldhouse P. We have a School Nutrition Policy . . . Now What? Dietitians of Canada Conference, Charlottetown, PE (2009).

From the Top Down: Administration’s Perspective on Preventing Childhood Obesity in Schools. Childhood and Adolescent Obesity 2008: How We Live, How We Learn, and How We Work: Implications for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, Vancouver, BC (2008).

McKenna, ML. Food for Thought: Minding the Lunch Money. Championing Public Health Nutrition (Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Ottawa, ON (2008).

McKenna ML, O’Toole T, Fox T. Cultural Shift: Implementing and Evaluating School Nutrition Policy. Society for Nutrition Education, Atlanta, GA (2008).

McKenna ML, School Nutrition Policy: Are We There Yet? Nutrition and Schools Symposium, Gatineau, QC (2008).

McKenna ML, Haggerty T. Wellness in NB: Making a Significant Difference? NB Legislators Standing Committee on Wellness, Fredericton NB (2008).

McKenna ML. Role for the Dietitian in Health Promotion. Dietitians of Canada Atlantic Fall Conference, Moncton NB (2008).

McKenna ML. A Framework for Evaluating School Nutrition Policies. Atlantic Networks for Prevention Research, St. Johns NL (2008).

McKenna ML. Policy Options for School Nutrition: Background Document. Satellite Expert Round-table on the World Health Organization Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health: A School Policy Framework, Vancouver, BC (2007).

McKenna ML. Body Mass Index: A Role for Schools? Canadian Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Annual Conference, Moncton, NB (2007).

McKenna ML. Healthy Eating in Schools: Making the Grade. Lorman Education Services, Eau Claire, WI. (Telephone Seminar Presentation) (2007).

O’Toole T, McKenna ML. Border Crossing: School Nutrition Policies in the United States and Canada. American Public Health Association 134th Annual Meeting and Exposition, Boston, MA (Poster) (2006).

McKenna ML. Who is responsible for the health of Canadians? Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada Second National Conference (Opening Keynote Address), Ottawa, Ontario. (2006).

Brooks M, Chapman D, Rice Okita J, McKenna ML, O’Toole T. Establishing Guidelines for Competitive Foods in Schools. Division of Adolescent Health Funded Partners Conference, Washington, DC (2006).

Detscher P, McDowell L, Vickers C, McKenna M. The Role of Schools in Addressing Childhood Overweight: BMI Screening and Surveillance. Division of Adolescent Health Funded Partners Conference, Washington, DC (2006).