Janet King

Distinguished Achievement Citation

By the Iowa State University Alumni Association

This award was established in 1992 to recognize meritorious service and/or distinguished achievements in such areas as business and industry, education, and health.

Janet KingJanet C. King
B.S. Dietetics 1963

Janet King’s research in human nutrition has affected dietary practices throughout the world. She demonstrated that calcium and zinc metabolism adapt during pregnancy and lactation to meet increased needs (thus, debunking the “eating for two” myth). King also discovered that a woman’s weight and nutritional status at conception influence later maternal dietary requirements. This discovery led to a change in nationally accepted weight gain standards for pregnant women.

King developed a way to measure the presence zinc in humans. This benefited the world’s most vulnerable populations — children on cereal diets, pregnant women, and the elderly. Although zinc deficiency has serious consequences, past measurement of marginal levels of this important element has not been possible.

King has been director of the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center since 1995. She also holds appointments as professor of nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Davis. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is past chair of the Food and Nutrition Board.