Judith S. Stern, Sc.D., R.D.

Judith Stern

Position Title
(In Memoriam) Distinguished Professor Emerita, Departments of Nutrition and Internal Medicine


Judith Schneider Stern, distinguished professor emerita of nutrition and internal medicine at UC Davis, died on May 8, 2019. She was 76 years old. Judy was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and was raised in Valley Stream, N.Y.

Her career in nutrition began at an early age with her participation and interest in 4-H. She received her bachelor’s degree with honors in food and nutrition from Cornell University in 1964. An R.D. (registered dietician) was subsequently also awarded. In 1966, she completed a master’s degree in nutrition from the Harvard School of Public Health, followed by her doctor of science degree from Harvard in 1970, as a student of Jean Mayer. She was appointed an assistant professor at The Rockefeller University in the highly respected laboratory of Jules Hirsch. Her prodigious and productive career took flight there, evidenced by many early publications still cited today. She was already a highly respected food and nutrition scientist at this early stage of her career.

She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1974. Her work on the metabolic and behavioral aspects of obesity flourished and she and many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows were well published. Over her distinguished career, she was awarded numerous national and international awards, including election as a fellow of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

She was a founder of and became president of both The Obesity Society and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. She also served as president of the American Society of Clinical Nutrition. Perhaps the most distinguished of her many honors was her election to the National Academy of Medicine (previously the Institute of Medicine) in 1995, a national honor held by only a few nutrition scientists.

Judy was very proud of and loved by her graduate students, postdoctoral students, talented laboratory staff and her collaborators. She was deeply committed to student learning and taught both undergraduate and graduate courses. She followed the paths of her students with great interest and took pride in their developing careers and successes.

Unlike many other scientists at the time, Judy devoted considerable effort to clear communication of scientific findings to the public. She wrote for the popular press, appeared regularly on both local and national television to discuss nutrition, obesity and other food and nutrition issues of interest to a popular audience. She took on controversial and complex issues with skill and excellent communication skills. She played an important role in helping to raise public and legislative interest in obesity as an urgent public health problem deserving of medical treatment, political advocacy and research.

Judy was a diligent faculty member, participating in many college and university-wide committees and projects. She was frequently called upon by the National Academy of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other federal and state agencies for participation in formal and informal committees and to provide testimony.

In recent years, Judy delighted in developing her interest in photography and took pleasure in submitting her photos to the Yolo County Fair where she was rewarded with ribbons.

Judy was a woman of distinction, courage, depth and complexity. She was often full of mischief and fun. Her friends and family will miss her spirit of adventure, her curiosity, her laugh and her propensity for beginning her fine restaurant meals with odd choices, including dessert.

Judy is survived by her devoted husband of 55 years, Richard Stern, her sister Tia Schneider Denenberg, her son Daniel, legions of students, and many colleagues and close friends.

Those who wish to donate in her memory may contribute to the Dr. Judith S. Stern Fund (324451) for graduate student support at UC Davis, Office of Graduate Studies, 250 Mrak Hall, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616 or visit https://give.ucdavis.edu/GRAD/324451.

Curriculum Vitae


  • B.S., Food & Nutrition with honors, 1964, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • M.S., Nutrition, 1966,  Harvard University School of Public Health
  • Sc.D, Nutrition, 1970, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts

Research and Professional Experience

  • 9/95-12/2001 Co-Director, Center for Alternative Medicine for Research in Asthma Allergy and Immunology
  • 7/82-present Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Department of Internal Medicine (7/86-present), University of California, Davis, CA
  • 10/80-6/2002 Director, Food Intake Laboratory Group, University of California, Davis, CA
  • 10/69-12/74 Research Associate and Assistant Professor, Department of Human Behavior and Metabolism, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY
  • 9/65-10/69 Graduate Student and NIH pre-doctoral fellow, Department of Nutrition, Harvard University, School of Public Health, Boston, MA
  • 9/64-6/65 Research Assistant, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Areas of Expertise

My research makes use of animal models to study the metabolic bases and behavioral aspects of obesity. Projects in clinical nutrition focus on nondiet approach to health and complementary medicine and asthma. Recent projects include: Obesity and Renal Disease: Roles for Hypertriglyceridemia and Estrogen (using female genetically obese Zucker rats (fa/fa); Obesity and Aging: (determining cause of death and median lifespan in male and female, obese and lean Zucker rats); Complementary Medicine and Asthma: project focus on magnesium supplements and asthma; Nondiet approach to health in obese women who are restrained eaters.

My public service has emphasized combating nutrition misinformation through education of healthcare professionals and by directly communicating to the public via written articles in the popular press and by working with print and TV journalists. There is a strong emphasis on combating misinformation with respect to obesity and its treatment. Along with Dr. Richard L. Atkinson, I helped to found a nonprofit lay advocacy group, the American Obesity Association. I remain actively involved in public policy issues relating to obesity

  • 4-H Community Service State Winner, 1960
  • B.S. Honors in Food and Nutrition, Cornell University
  • Delta Omega, Harvard University
  • Sigma Xi, The Rockefeller University
  • H. Brooks James Memorial Lecture (North Carolina State University, 1984)
  • Lydia J. Roberts Memorial Lecture (University of Chicago, 1992)
  • Award for Distinguished Public Service (University of California, Davis, 1995)
  • Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, member (10/1/95)
  • Egyptian Medical Syndicate Medal, (1/95)
  • California Dietetic Association, Excellence in Research (1996)
  • G. Malcolm Trout Visiting Scholar, Michigan State University Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition, (1996)
  • Mary Shorb Lecturer, University of Maryland (1999)
  • Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Charles A. Black Award (2001)
  • Who’s Who in America, 56th Edition (2001)
  • Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, 3rd Edition (2000-2001)
  • American Heart Association (AHA), Fellow of AHA (F.A.H.A.), AAAS (Fellow), Fellow of the Council on Nutrition, Physical
  • Activity, and Metabolism (May 2003), American Nutrition Society (Fellow), The Obesity Society (Fellow), RL Atkinson
  • and JS Stern Distinguished Public Service Award
Professional Society Membership
  • American Society for Nutrition (Fellow)
  • American Council on Science and Health
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Dietetic Association (Registered Dietician)
  • American Heart Association
  • American Society for Clinical Nutrition (Past President)
  • American Society for Nutritional Sciences (Fellow)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow)
  • California Dietetic Association
  • Institute of Food Technologists
  • North American Association for the Study of Obesity (Past President)
  • Sigma Xi
  • Society for Ingestive Behavior
Service in Professional Societies
  • American Heart Association Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism
  • Communications Committee (2001)
  • American Council on Science and Health:
  • Board of Scientific Advisor (1980-present)
  • American Dietetic Association:
  • Obesity Certificate Program Task Force (1999)
  • American Society for Nutritional Sciences
  • Food and Nutrition Science Alliance, representative from ASNS,
  • Food Assistance Task Force, member (1995)
  • Implementation of Long Range Plan (1995)
  • Long Range Planning Committee (11/83-6/88)
  • Nominating Committee (1982, 1987-88)
  • Osborne Mendel Award Committee (1979-81) (2000)
  • Chair, Public Information Committee (joint committee with ASCN) (1992-94)
  • Subcommittee on Nutrition Misinformation (1981-82)
  • American Obesity Association:
    • Co-Founder
    • Co-chair of Board and Vice President (1995), merged with The Obesity Society)
  • American Society for Clinical Nutrition
    • Vice-President (5/95-4/96), Vice-President, elect (5/94-5/95), President (4/96-4/97), Past President (4/97-4/98)
    • Chair, Public Information Committee (joint committee with ASNS)(7/92-6/94)
    • Long Range Planning Committee (1993-199&)present), Chair (1998)
    • Co-organizer FASEB symposium (1992)
    • Nominating Committee, ASCN (1992)
  • California Dietetic Association:
    • L. Zellmer Scholarship Committee (1992-4), Chair (6/93-5/94)
  • Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA): Alliance of 4 societies (American Dietetic Association, American Institute of
    • Clinical Nutrition, American Institute of Nutrition (AIN), Institute of Food Technology), Founding member and chair (10/92-9/94); representative from AIN (10/92-10/95);representative from ASCN (4/97-4/98).
  • Institute of Food Technologists:
    • Media Consultant (1989)
  • International Association for the Study of Obesity (World Obesity):
    • Treasurer (1993-1998)
    • Ethics Task Force (2002)
    • Finance Committee (2012-)
  • North American Association for the Study of Obesity (The Obesity Society)
    • Founding Member (1981)
    • Secretary (1984-88)
    • Vice President (10/90-10/91)
    • Chair and Organizer, Annual Research Meeting and Continual Medical Education Meeting, Sacramento, CA, (10/91)
    • President Elect: (10/91-9/92)
    • President (9/92-10/93)
    • Nominating Committee, Chair (4/94) (8/00)
    • Judge in Student Competition (10/95)
  • Society for Ingestive Behavior:
    • Long Range Planning Committee 1987-1988

Government Service

  • National Institutes of Health:
    • Member of NIDDK: Obesity Task Force Advisory Committee (6/95-2/02)
    • Member Special Grants Review Committee NIDDK: Training Grants (7/93-6/97)
    • Member, Metabolism Study Section (7/85-7/87)
    • Member, Human Nutrition Board of Scientific Counselors (1988)
    • Member, Nutrition Study Section (10/87-6/89)
    • Chair, Ad Hoc Review of Proposal to National Institutes of Aging (1993)
    • Member, Ad Hoc Study Sections (1988, 1992, 1993, 1999)
    • Weight Standards Workshop (11/89)
    • NIDDK: Search Committee for Deputy Director (1989-90)
  • United States Department of Agriculture:
    • Human Nutrition Research Advisory Board (1987-90)
    • U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2nd Edition (1983-86)
    • Review of Agriculture Initiative Report (1989)
    • National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board (10/2000-)
  • Other
    • Federal Trade Commission, consultation and testimony (1983, 1988, 1993, 2002);
    • Partnership for Healthy Weight Management (1998-9)
    • Panel member: FTC Healthy Weight Management (2002)
    • Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, review (July 1988)
    • United States Senate Subcommittee, testimony on weight loss and quackery (1985)
    • US Postal Service, expert testimony (1988)
    • FDA, Testimony, Antiobesity Drugs (1/95)
    • Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, member (1995)
    • U.S. Pharmacopeia, Bioavailability and Nutrient Absorption Expert Committee (7/00)

Advisory Boards and Committees

  • American Biographical Institute Professional Women’s Advisory Board, (2002)
  • American Dietetic Association: Obesity Certificate Program Task Force Committee Member (1999)
  • American Obesity Association: Vice President, Co-Founder (1995)
  • Avocado Growers of California: Nutrition Advisory Board (1975-1998)
  • U.S. Pharmacopeia: Bioavailability and Nutrient Absorption Expert Committee (2000)
  • Campbell Taggart: Board of Directors (1980-82)
  • Fluid Milk Processors, Scientific Advisory Board- “Milk Moustache” Campaign (1995-2000)
  • Cover Girl Skin Advisory Panel: (1992-1994)
  • Golden Carnation Awards Program: Judge (1989-1990)
  • IASO Ethics & Conflict of Interest Committee member (2002-)
  • Institute for Behavioral Education: Board Advisor
  • International Dairy Food Association: Advisory Board (1994-2000)
  • California Potato Board: Consulter (1999)
  • Leptogen: Scientific Advisory Board (2002-)
  • National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board (10/00 to 9/03)
  • National Dairy Council: Speaker (1992)
  • Quaker Oats: Fiber Advisory Council (1987- 91)
  • Roche Laboratories, Inc.: Investigator and advisor for Xenical launch (1998)
  • Safeway Nutrition Awareness Program: Nutrition Advisory Board (1982-91)
  • Salt Institute, Scientific Advisory board (1995)
  • Shape Up America: Scientific Advisory Committee (11/94-2015)
  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Advisory Committee for Center for Alaska Native Health Rearch (2003)
  • Weight Watchers, International: Scientific Advisory Board (1994)
Editorial Advisory Boards
  • Allure (1999)
  • American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1991-1994)
  • Appetite, Executive Editor (1990-1998)
  • Childhood Obesity (Associate Editor)
  • Eating Disorders and Ingestive Behavior, Editorial Board (1984-6)
  • International Journal of Obesity (1976-85)
  • Nutrition and Behavior (1981-87)
  • Nutritional Reviews (4/00-present)
  • Obesity Research (1992-present)
  • Prevention Magazine, Scientific Advisor (1989)
  • Vogue Magazine, Contributing Editor (1974) and columnist (1974-1988)
  • The Weight Control Digest (1991-2000)
  • Weight Watchers Magazine (1996)
  • Nutrition Today (2000-2015)
Institude of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
  • Member (10/1/95-present)
  • Member, Nutrition Labeling Committee (9/89-9/90)
  • Chair, Committee to Develop Criteria for Evaluating the Outcomes of Approaches to Prevent and Treat Obesity (8/93-12/94)
Service/University of California, Davis (selected examples)
  • Systemwide:
    • Steering Committee for the Western Human Nutrition Research Center (WHNRC) (1983-1990)
    • Organizing Committee for joint University of California/WHNRC Conference, 1994
  • University:
    • Academic Planning Council (9/93-8/95)
    • Assessment of Animals Facility Needs Study Group (1988-89)
    • Faculty Development Workshop, Discussion leader (1989)
    • Chancellor's committee Animal Programs and Facilities Oversight Group, faculty representative (1989-2015)
    • Transportation and Parking Committee (6/02-)
  • Academic Senate:
    • Vice Chair (9/02-8/04)
    • Committee on Athletics 7/91-6/92)
    • Committee on Committees (1999 - 2000, two calendar years, chair 2000)
    • Committee to Review Graduate Program in Physical Education (1983-84)
    • Parking Committee (9/99- present), Chair (2003-2015)
    • Consultative committee on Procedures for Faculty Discipline (1989-2015)
    • Recruitment committee for Dean of College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (1989)
    • Graduate Group of Nutrition, Admissions Committee (1993-1997)
    • Coordinating committee to establish a Human Nutrition Research Laboratory (1993)
    • Director of NIH-funded training program for pre- and postdoctoral trainees (1979-2001); Co-Director (2001-))
    • University of California at Davis Prize Committee (1995)
    • Task Force on UCD Institutional Review Board Procedures (Chair) (1999)
    • Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Recruitment Advisory Committee (2000-01)
  • College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences:
    • Executive Committee, Member (7/89-6/93), Vice-Chair (7/90-6/91), Chair (7/91-6/92), Chair: Curriculum Review
    • Subcommittee (9/90-8/91)
    • College Personnel Committee (1/87-8/90)
    • Implementation Advisory Committee for Multicellular Systems/Organismal Biology (1989-91)
    • Program Review Committee, Animal Science (1981)
    • Co-Director, Alternative Medicine Center for Research in Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology (1995-2000)
  • School of Medicine:
    • Nutrition Committee, UC Davis Medical Center (1979-1984)
    • Search Committees for the Division of Clinical Nutrition (1989, 1990)
    • Executive Committee, Clinical Nutrition Research Unit (CNRU) (1985)
    • Director of Animal Models Sub Core Laboratory, CNRU (1985)
    • Science Advisory Committee for the Center for Advanced Studies in Nutrition and Social Marketing (1999)
  • School of Veterinary Medicine
    • Search Committee, Clinical Nutrition
  • Department of Nutrition:
    • Dietetics Major, Advisor (1981), Master Advisor (7/86-6/86)
    • Nutrition Perspectives and Cooperative Extension Newsletter, Faculty Consultant (1984-92)
    • Faculty Recruitment Committees (1980-81), Chair (1981-82), Co-Chair (1982-83), 4 search committees (1989-1990), Chair
    • (1994), Chair (1995), 1999
    • Graduate Group of Nutrition, Recruitment Committee, Chair (9/98-1999)
    • Editor, Alumni newsletter (2002)


Selected Publications
(selected from over 270 publications)

Warden CH, Bettaieb A, Min E, Fisler JS, Haj FG, Stern JS. Chow fed UC Davis strain female Lepr fatty Zucker rats exhibit mild glucose intolerance, hypertriglyceridemia, and increased urine volume, all reduced by a Brown Norway strain chromosome 1 congenic donor region. PLoS One. 2017 Dec 6;12 (12):e0188175. [PubMed]

Kyoungmi Kim, Craig Warden, Stephen Griffey, Jose Vilches-Moure, Susan Hansen, Edwin Cuppen, Isaac Nijman, Sally Chiu, and Judith Stern. 2010. Genes unlinked to the leptin receptor influence urinary albumin excretion in obese Zucker rats. Physiological Genomics. In Press. 2010. [PubMed]

Kazaks AG, Stern JS. 2010. Strategies to Reduce Calories in Food. In:  Handbook of Obesity: Clinical Applications, 3e Editors: GA Bray, C Bouchard, in press.

Bersamin A, Luick BR, Stern JS, Zidenberg-Cherr S. 2010. Effects of a Westernizing diet on fat intake, red blood cell fatty acid composition and health in remote Alaska Native Communities: the CANHR study, in press. [PubMed]

Stern JS, Kazaks AG. 2009. Obesity: A Reference Handbook, ABC CLIO Publishing, pp.323.

Bersamin A, Luick B, Ruppert E, Stern JS, Zidenberg-Cherr S.2009. Diet quality among Yup’ik Eskimos living in rural communities is low: the Center for Alaska Native Health Research pilot study. J Amer Dietetic Asscn. 106: 1055-1063. [PubMed]

Bersamin A, Luick BR, King OB, Stern KS. Zidenberg-Cherr S. 2008. Westernizing diets influence fat intake, red blood cell fatty acid composition, and health in remote Alaskan Native communities in the center for Alaska Native health study. J Am Diet Assoc. 108:266-73. [PubMed]

Bersamin A, Zidenberg-Cherr S, Stern JS, Luick BR. 2007. Nutrient intakes are associated with adherence to a traditional diet among Yup’ik Eskimos living in remote Alaska Native communities: the CANHR Study. Circumpolar Health. 66: 62.70. [PubMed]

Kazaks AG, Stern JS. 2007, California Agriculture, Overweight and obesity are associated with decreased magnesium intake in people with asthma.California Agriculture; 61:119-23, July-September.

Bersamin A, Zidenberg-Cherr S, Stern JS, Luick BR. 2007. Nutrient intakes are associated with adherence to a traditional diet among Yup’ik Eskimos living in remote Alaska native communities: The CANHR Study. Intl J Circumpolar Health 66:62-70. [PubMed]

Stern JS. 2007. No dietary supplement will result in weight loss. American Diabetes Association DOC News, March, p. 3.

Kazaks AG, Uriu Adams JY, Albertson TE, Stern JS. 2006. Multiple measures of magnesium status are comparable in mild asthma and control subjects. Journal of Asthma. 43:783-8. [PubMed]

Bersamin A, Luick B, Michael W, Stern JS, Zidenberg-Cherr S. 2006. Diet quality among Yup'ik  Eskimos living in rural communities is low: the Center for Alaska Native Health Research pilot study:  J Am Diet Asscn. 106:1055-1063. [PubMed]

Kazaks A, Uriu-Adams JY, Stern JS, Albertson TE. 2005. No significant relationship between exhaled nitric oxide and body mass index in people with asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 116:929-30.

Stern JS, Kazaks A, Downey M.  2005. Future Implications of Reimbursement for Obesity Treatment, J Am. Dietetic Asscn (Supplement), 105:S104-S109. [PubMed]

Bacon L, Stern JS. 2005. Size acceptance and intuitive eating improves health for obese female chronic dieters.  J Am. Dietetic Asscn, 105:929-936. [PubMed]

Gades MD, Stern JS. 2005. Chitosan supplementation and fat absorption in men and women, J Am. Dietetic Asscn., 105:72-77. [PubMed]

Freedman MR, Stern JS. 2004. The role of optimal healing environments in the management of childhood obesity. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(Supplement 1):S231-S244. [PubMed]

Chiu S, Fisler JS, Espinal GM, Havel PJ, Stern JS, Warden CH. 2004. The Yellow agouti mutation alters some but not all responses to diet and exercise.  Running title: Diet restriction and exercise on obese mice.  Obesity Research, 12:1243-55. [PubMed]

Kazaks A, Stern JS. 2004. Treatment Alternatives: Diet, Physical Activity, and Behavior. In: Pharmacotherapy of Obesity: Options and Alternatives, Hofbauer KG, CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Bacon L, Stern JS, Keim NL, Loan MV. 2004. Low Bone Mass in Premenopausal Chronic Dieting Obese Women. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  58:966-971. [PubMed]

 Downey M, Stern JS. 2003. The importance of being earnest. Lancet. 362:S42-3 [PubMed]

Kazaks A, Stern JS. 2003. Obesity: How do we get fat: food intake. In. Primary Care, Clinics in Office Practice: Obesity, Ed. GA Bray, Elsevier Science, Philadelphia 30:301-316.

Gades MD, Stern JS. 2003. Chitosan Supplementation and Fecal Fat Excretion in Men. Obesity Research 11:683-688. [PubMed]

Bacon L, Keim NL, VanLoan M, Stern JS.  2002.  Evaluating a “Non-diet” Wellness Intervention for Improvement of Psychological Well-Being and Eating Behaviors.  Int J Obesity 26:854-865. [PubMed]

Gades MD, Stern JS. 2002. Chitosan supplementation does not affect fat absorption in healthy males fed a high fat diet, a pilot study.  Int J Obesity 26:119-122. [PubMed]

Stevenson FT, Wheeldon CM, Gades MD, Van Goor H, Stern JS. 2001. Hyperphagia as a mediator of renal disease initiation in the obese Zucker rat. Obesity Research 9: 492-499. [PubMed]

Stern, JS, Gades MD, Wheeldon CM, Borchers AT. 2001. Calorie restriction in obesity: prevention of kidney disease in rodents. J. Nutrition 131:913S-917S. [PubMed]

Miller GD; Dimond AG; Stern JS.  2000.  The effect of repeated episodes of dietary restriction and refeeding on systolic blood pressure and food intake in exercise-trained normotensive rats.
Obesity Research 8:324-336. [PubMed]

Borchers AT, Keen CL, Stern JS, Gershwin ME. 2000. Nutraceuticals: separating the wheat from the chaff. California Agriculture, 54: 26-32.

Ahren B, Magrum LJ, Havel PJ, Greene SF, Phinney SD, Johnson PR, Stern JS. 2000. Augmented Insulinotropic Action of Arachiodonic Acid through the Lipoxygenase Pathway in the Obese Zucker rat. Obesity Research, 8: 475-480. [PubMed]

Barr SI, McCarron DA, Heaney RP, Dawson-Hughes B, Berga Sl, Stern JS, Oparil S. 2000. Effects of increased consumption of fluid milk on energy and nutrient intake, body weight, and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy older adults. J American Dietetic Association 100: 7: 810-817..

Borchers AT, Sakai S, Henderson GL, Harkey MR, Keen CL, Stern JS, Terasawa K, Gershwin ME. 2000. Shosaiko-to and other kampo (Japanese herbal) medicines: a review of their immunomodulatory activities.  J Ethnopharmacol. 73:1-13. [PubMed]