Public Health Hero Award Goes to Marion Nestle

New York University Professor Marion Nestle has been named a “Public Health Hero” for her national leadership in nutrition policy and her work to stem nutritionally based diseases, such as obesity, by the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

“Every day, Marion Nestle speaks to reporters, business people, or government officials, doing her best to make the public aware of the ways in which the food industry’s advertising machine and political lobby create national nutritional trends, and, in some cases, affect national policy,” UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health said in announcing Nestle’s selection. “Her books established her as an advocate for public health nutrition and a food industry gadfly, alerting people to the unethical practices of this enormously powerful lobby.”

Nestle, the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health will be honored at a March 30 celebration in San Francisco.

Nestle is the author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (revised edition 2010), What to Eat (2006), Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine (2008), and Feed Your Pet Right (2010), co-authored with Malden Nesheim. Food Politics captured three prestigious awards after its publication in 2002: the James Beard Literary Award, the Association of American Publishers Award for Public Health, and the Harry Chapin Media Award for Best Book. Nestle is currently writing a book with Nesheim about calories for University of California Press.

The Public Health Hero award was founded to honor pioneers working toward improved health for all and to raise awareness of the field of public health. The 54 previous recipients of UC Berkeley Public Health Hero award have included actor Rob Reiner, who cofounded the I Am Your Child Foundation; Rowe v. Wade attorney Sarah Weddington; and Dr. Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners in Health, one of the primary organizations providing relief in Haiti.

Other honorees this year include: Kenneth Behring, founder of the Wheelchair Foundation and the WaterLeaders Foundation; Dr. Washington Burns, executive director of the Prescott-Joseph Center for Community Enhancement; and Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS), which serves homeless individuals and families in California’s Alameda County.