Maureen O'Hagan of The Seattle Times and Nathan Myhrvold, formerly of Microsoft, win James Beard Foundation awards.

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Seattle Times reporter Maureen O’Hagan has won a James Beard Foundation Award for “Feeling the Weight: The Emotional Battle to Control Kids’ Diet.”

O’Hagan’s series of stories, which won in the health and well-being category, ran last June in Pacific Northwest magazine.

The Beard Awards, announced Friday, are presented each spring in New York City.

“Childhood obesity is an important topic — and a sensitive one,” O’Hagan said. “We’re so honored that families struggling with weight issues shared their stories with us, and with our readers, in such a heartfelt way. Their candor is what made this project such a success.”

The stories detailed how children are bombarded with messages promoting sugary and starchy foods, even in schools, and steps they could take to battle obesity.

“It’s gratifying to see Maureen’s work receive this prestigious recognition. This was important journalism that gave families in our community new tools to talk about food and health,” said David Boardman, Seattle Times executive editor.

The stories were produced under a grant by the Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism, which is administered by the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships through the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Also honored was former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, who won two awards, one for the best cookbook and the other for cooking from a professional point of view. His six-volume “Modernist Cuisine” was released last year.

The awards, which cover all aspects of the food industry — including restaurant designers and architects and more — are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America.

For chefs, they are the equivalent of an Academy Award. There are at least 12 James Beard-winning chefs in Seattle.

The Beard Foundation is named for the late James Beard, a Portland, Ore.-born chef and food writer, considered one of the aficionados of American cooking.

Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or

On Twitter @BartleyNews.