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 populations. Ikeda 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 theCollege 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 Trends.”
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.