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

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Individuals with MDs or PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to obesity and health. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to obesity and health.
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