In Memoriam: Joanne Pakel Ikeda, MA, RD | Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB)

In Memoriam: Joanne Pakel Ikeda, MA, RD

Posted by: on Wednesday December 5, 2018 Joanne Pakel Ikeda

Joanne Pakel Ikeda

May 17, 1944 – November 27, 2018

Internationally known nutritionist, Joanne P. Ikeda, traveled to a new dimension on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.  She regretted leaving her wonderful husband, Roy H. Ikeda, and her two marvelous daughters, Melinda Mayumi Ikeda and Jennifer Ayame Ikeda, but knew she would be reunited with them in the Great Beyond.

Joanne was known for her role in the development of a new approach to weight management entitled Health at Every Size® (HAES).  Mid-career she came to the conclusion that subjecting large people to food restriction, body dissatisfaction, and size discrimination was futile and only resulted in physical, psychological and social damage to these individuals.  She and others determined that rather than focus on weight, the focus needed to be on health.  Research showed that many large people could improve all aspects of health with lifestyle modifications unaccompanied by weight loss.  Joanne cherished the awards she received from NAAFA, a civil rights organization for fat people and their friends, for her work advocating body size acceptance and fighting size discrimination.  She testified before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before they voted to adopt an ordinance banning size discrimination in employment, housing, adoptions, jury selection and other domains.  She was highly respected for her research on the food habits of minority populations living in California; she conducted community collaborative research with Hmong-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, Black Americans, and California Native Americans.  She found many positive things happening in those communities.  She was a member of the faculty in the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of California, Berkeley, for close to 35 years.  Joanne helped many students gain knowledge and skills in the areas of nutrition education and counseling.  She served as President of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was on more professional committees than she cared to count.

After retirement, Joanne was elected President of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior and in 2018 was honored to receive the prestigious Helen Denning Ullrich Award for Lifetime Excellence in Nutrition Education.  She continued to work as a consultant for the Cartoon Network and did volunteer work with Girls Inc., Reading Partners, Eden Housing, and served as the Registered Dietitian for the Order of Malta Clinic in Oakland.

She was wealthy in her many friends, her sisters, Bonnie Headlee and Irene Pakel, her brother, Scott Pakel, as well as her sister-in-law, Minako Beusch, her brothers-in-in law, Willi Beusch and Chuck Headlee, and her nephew, Michael Beusch.  Her greatest contribution to this world was her two daughters, Mindi, a graduate of UCLA and a marketing executive, and Jenny, a graduate of the drama division of The Juilliard School and a successful actress.  She thanks her husband, Roy, for his love and support through forty-nine years of marriage.

A celebration of Joanne’s life will be held on Saturday, December 8 at 11:00 am at the Santos Robinson Mortuary, 160 Estudillo Ave, San Leandro. Instead of flowers, Joanne requested donations in her name be made to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Foundation at  or 9100 Purdue Road, Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46268.

The luncheon will be at a Chinese restaurant in Oakland Chinatown.

Roy’s address is 1777 View Drive, San Leandro CA 94577.  Daughters are Mindi and Jenny.

Note: Joanne’s Helen Denning Ullrich Award for Lifetime Excellence in Nutrition Education acceptance video is online –