Last updated on: 5/5/2014 | Author:

Pamela M. Peeke, MD, MPH Biography

President and CEO of the Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland
Pro to the question "Is Obesity a Disease?"

“Does obesity fit the strict definition of a disease? According to Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Professions, a disease is: 1. a condition of abnormal vital function involving any structure, part, or system of an organism; 2. a specific illness or disorder characterized by a recognizable set of signs and symptoms attributable to heredity, infection, diet, or environment. Answer? It fits.

Moreover, as a physician who, like my medical brethren, has had to resort to creative diagnostic coding to work with people in the field of weight management, I’m hoping that now, with a disease designation, these people will be able to have insurance to help defer some of the costs associated with obesity. This is particularly true of those who, on paper and exam, do not yet have the metabolic syndrome, but are clearly obese and seeking help.

Further, it is important that the medical community as well as the public and insurers drop their stereotypic perceptions of those who are obese, and elevate the obese condition to that of other disease conditions along with respect for those who are suffering.”

Statement to Prevention Magazine, “Is Obesity a Disease? Prevention Experts Weigh In,”, June 2013

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • President and CEO, Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living, Jan. 2006-present
  • Fellow, American College of Physicians (FACP)
  • Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Medicine, Division of Complementary Medicine, University of Maryland, 1996-present
  • Adjunct Senior Scientist, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Foundation, 1996-present
  • Lecturer, Medical School, School of Public Health, Disease Prevention, 1996-present
  • Clinical Lecturer, Medical Center School of Medicine, Masters in Public Health Graduate Program, George Washington University, 1996-present
  • Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona, 1996-present
  • Adjunct Fellow, Ceres Forum on Food and Nutrition Policy, George Washington University, 1993-present
  • Senior Research Fellow, Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 1995
  • Recipient, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Research Science Fellowship Award, 1996
  • Recipient, Intramural Research Training Fellowship Award, National Institutes of Health, 1996
  • Recipient, Intramural Research Training Award, National Institutes of Health, Child Health and Human Development, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, 1994
  • Recipient, Solvay Pharmaceuticals Research Award, Clinical Protocol, University of California at Davis, 1990
  • Recipient, Pew Foundation Post-doctoral Scholarship in Nutrition and Metabolism, University of California at Davis, 1989
  • Editorial Board Member, MEDICA, Journal of Practicing Women M.D.’s, 1985
  • Graduated, Nutrition Sciences Doctoral Program, University of California at Davis, 1990
  • MD, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 1980
  • MPH, Medical Care Policy and Administration, University of California at Berkeley, 1976
  • BS, Cellular Biology, University of California at Berkeley, 1974
  • Resident, internal medicine, George Washington University Medical Center, 1980-1983
  • Founding Member, American Medical Association Commission on Women in Medicine, 1979
  • Recipient, Smith Kline Medical Perspectives Fellowship, National Fund for Medical Education, 1979
  • Recipient, Excellence in Journalism Award, American Medical Student Association, 1978
  • Recipient, March of Dimes Grant, Diethylstilbestrol study, 1977
  • Recipient, US Public Health Scholarship, University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Public Health, 1974
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Is Obesity a Disease?