Joanne P. Ikeda, MA, RD, formerly Nutrition
Education Specialist & Lecturer and currently Nutritionist Emeritus of
the Department of Nutritional Sciences and founding Co-Director, Center for
Weight and Health University of California, Berkeley is a nationally recognized
expert on pediatric obesity and the dietary practices of ethnic and immigrant
has been a pioneer in conducting community collaborative research on the
food habits and dietary quality of California’s low-income immigrant and
ethnic populations. Her findings are used to develop culturally sensitive
and relevant educational programs for these groups, which have included Hmong
families in the Central Valley; Vietnamese-American communities in Northern
and Southern California; Native Americans in rural areas; and African American
women in urban areas of the state. Ikeda
was awarded the University of California Outreach Award in 1999 for her service
to minority communities.
As a Cooperative Extension Nutrition Education Specialist
and founding Co-director of the Center
for Weight and Health in the
College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley, Ikeda has been a leader in efforts
to refine approaches to the prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity
at the local, state and national levels. She co-chaired the National
Leadership Team for the USDA, CSREES project on “Reversing Childhood Obesity
She is author or coauthor of research publications
as well as pamphlets, books, and training kits designed to help health professionals, paraprofessionals and parents instill healthy eating habits and encourage physical activity in children and adolescents. Her most recent effort involves empowering community coalitions to change local environments so they are more supportive of healthy lifestyles in families. She is dedicated to protecting children from becoming “casualties” in the “War on Obesity” by promoting a “health-at-every-size
approach to this problem.
Ikeda’s honors have included the Society of Nutrition Education Weight Realities Achievement Award; the Ethel Austin Martin Nutrition Education Distinguished Lecturer Award from South Dakota State University; the Margaret Ritchie Distinguished Speaker Award from the University of Idaho, the University of California Outreach Award for service to minority communities, and the Alumni Award for Outstanding Volunteerism from her alma mater, Cornell University.
She has served as president of the 8,000 member
California Dietetic Association and has chaired the American Dietetic Association’s
Nutrition Education for the Public Practice Group. She is current Chair of
the Pediatric Subunit of the American Dietetic Association’s Weight Management
Practice Group. She has been active on many advisory boards and committees.
In 2003, she received the Community Awareness Award from the National Association
to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) for her dissemination of the message of
size acceptance. NAAFA is the oldest civil rights organization for large individuals. She is currently on the Executive Board of the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), a professional organization devoted to promoting a “health-at-every-size” approach
to weight management.
Ikeda was given a “lecturer” title by her colleagues in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UC Berkeley in 1986, and taught ”NS301, Nutrition Education and Counseling,” to
undergraduate students every year until her retirement in January of 2007.
Her funding has included a $l. mil grant from the
National Research Institute for a research project, “Randomized, Controlled Community Intervention to Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Overweight African American Children,” notified of award 11/20/03; $500,000. from the California Cancer Research Program to conduct research on “Cancer Risk Reduction in Vietnamese Communities,” awarded for years 2001 through 2003; $5,000 from the California Cancer Society to promote breastfeeding through the Vietnamese Physician’s Associations of Northern and Southern California. Ikeda
has received matching funds for numerous projects through the Food Stamp
Nutrition Education Program
Ikeda retired from her position at the University
of California, Berkeley, in January of 2007 after 38 years of service but
remains professionally active. She is currently a consultant
to the Cartoon Network, helping them integrate messages about healthy lifestyle
behaviors into their programming.