Last updated on: 12/1/2010 | Author:

Stanley Heshka, PhD Biography

Associate Research Scientist at the Institute of Human Nutrition of Columbia University
Con to the question "Is Obesity a Disease?"

“Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) or percentage body fat in excess of some cut-off value, though clearly a threat to health and longevity, lacks a universal concomitant group of symptoms or signs and the impairment of function which characterize disease according to traditional definitions. While it might nevertheless be possible to achieve a social consensus that it is a disease despite its failure to fit traditional models of disease, the merits of such a goal are questionable. Labeling obesity a disease may be expedient but it is not a necessary step in a campaign to combat obesity and it may be interpreted as self-serving advocacy without a sound scientific basis.”

“Is Obesity a Disease?,” International Journal of Obesity, Oct. 2001

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Associate Research Scientist Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University, 1996-present
  • Research Associate, Obesity Research Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, 1981-present
  • Research Consultant Office of the Vice-President of Arts and Science, Columbia University, 1985-1987
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Columbia University, 1986-1987
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, McMaster University, Hamilton (Ontario, Canada), 1973-1979
  • Methods and Systems Analyst, Unilever Canada, 1965-1967
  • Prototype Development Technician, Digital Control Devices, Societe Genevoise d’Instruments de Physique, 1962-1963
  • Prototype Development Technician, Electronic Sensing Devices, National Coal Board (London, UK), 1960-1961
  • Telecommunications Technician, Government of Canada, 1959-1960
  • PhD, Psychology, Columbia University, 1973
  • MSc, Social Psychology, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, 1970
  • Attended the University of Madrid, University of Paris (Sorbonne), and University of Munich
  • None found