News Releases 2004
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CorporateJapanSeptember 29, 2004
Honda Foundation Announces The Honda Prize For The Year 2004 Will Be Awarded to Dr. Walter C. Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, U.S.A.

Honda Foundation (Founder: Soichiro Honda, President: Hiromori Kawashima) announced that it has decided to confer the Honda Prize for the year 2004 on Dr. Walter C. Willett (59), Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, U.S.A.  Among the 25 laureates of the Honda Prize, Dr. Willett will be the fifth American and the third medical scientist to receive the prize.

Dr. Willett pioneered the development of a dietary assessment tool which later became known as the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). In 1980, he commenced an 18-year large-scale FFQ epidemiologic diet survey (cohort research) on a  cumulative total of 300 thousand men and women nationwide.  This research convincingly proved diet plays a major role in the outbreak and prevention of chronic ailments like cancer, cardiac diseases, and diabetes.  The results helped clarify the relationship between specific diseases and various food ingredients like fat, alcohol, and dietary fiber.  They also serve as the basis for the importance of vitamins and supplements such as folic acid and beta-carotene in a healthy diet.

Before Dr. Willett developed FFQ, it was very difficult to show how diet was related to chronic diseases on a case-by-case basis although diet was thought to play an important role.   Researchers worldwide followed Dr. Willett’s lead and conducted similar epidemiologic studies. As a result, nutritional epidemiology underwent a fundamental change and dramatic advances were realized.  This is especially true in the field of elucidating the relationship between diet and maladies such as cancer and cardiac diseases.

Honda Foundation believes that Dr. Willett’s achievements are consistent with Eco-Technology* - a genuine technology which is advocated by the foundation.  Dr. Willett, the 25th laureate of the Honda Prize, will be awarded a supplemental prize of 10 million yen.  The award ceremony will be held at Hotel Okura, Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday, November 17, 2004.

* Eco-Technology is the term coined to denote the harmonious development of ecology and technology. It is a technological concept for future society which values technological advances in harmony with the environment surrounding human activities, rather than the traditional pursuit and use of technology solely for efficiency and profit.

CURRICULUM VITAE of Professor Dr. Walter C. Willett

1945 Born in Hart, Michigan, USA
1970 M.D. University of Michigan Medical School
1973 M.P.H. Harvard School of Public Health
1980 Dr. P.H. Harvard School of Public Health, Epidemiology
1980-84 Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
1984-87 Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health
1986-92 Lecturer in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
1987- Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
1991- Chairman, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
1992- Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Awards: (from 1990 onward)
1994 American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Award
1996 Distinguished Achievement Award, American Society for Preventive Oncology
1996 John Snow Award, APHA
1997 International Award for Modern Nutrition
2001 The Charles S. Mott Prize for most outstanding recent contribution related to the cause or prevention of cancer. General Motors Cancer Research Foundation
2003 People’s Pharmacy Award for Excellence in Research and Communications for Public Health

1998 “Nutritional Epidemiology”
2001 “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy”

Over 900 articles have been published

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