Q&A with Dr. David Katz, MD

Posted 02/17/2012 | By HealthCorps

Q and A with Dr. David Katz, MD MPH, FACPM, FACP

Director, Yale University Prevention Research Center
Editor-in-Chief, Childhood Obesity


You are clearly invested in fighting childhood and teen obesity.  Share a
bit about your younger years and any impact it may have had in leading you
to specialize in this area of medicine

My father is a cardiologist and there was always some attention to health and fitness in my home, though subtle.  I discovered an interest in sports at age 13 but found I fell short of the milestones laid out by the coach.  I started to work out and have done so almost everyday till now.  I also recognized food as fuel and began to care about the choices I made, which translate into “high performance” fuel.  I also like to “fix what’s broken” and with obesity and related chronic disease as the public health crisis of our time, I was pulled into an interest in the areas of medicine that address these issues.  Intervene early because the stakes are so high and the promise is so great, I say.


You have several kids – How do you and your wife handle nutrition in the

By loving food that loves us back!! My wife is a great cook…We have always modeled behaviors to our kids….Eating well and prioritizing health are family values so just as most kids will end up following the religious beliefs of the household, if you make health a priority, your kids are likely to embrace and carry on those habits.  My wife and I have laid a foundation of good health for our kids…What greater gift can a parent give a child?


How does public health policy play a role in stopping the current obesity trends?

Used to be that calories were scarce and physical activity was unavoidable.  The modern world has flipped this to calories unavoidable and physical activity scarce.  This phenomenon has helped to fuel diabetes type 2 and obesity. Policy changes can help to make healthful choices the default choice.


What role does the “personal/I take ownership of this condition”
perspective play
 in obesity?

I’m involved in Turn the Tide foundation – Read more athttp://www.turnthetidefoundation.org/programs.htm

I’m also involved in NUVAL, a nutritional guidance program – Read more at www.nuval.com.

One newer project I’m especially excited about is called “Vitality Raps,” which will deliver important health messages in the form of music videos.

Why did you become interested in getting involved specifically in

The best way to predict the future? Create it.  Though there are some encouraging signs, those of us working to improve the health and destinies of our kids have ‘promises to keep and miles to go.’  Failure is not an option and we need to systematically overcome the obstacles to weight loss, healthier weights and better health in general.  That’s what HealthCorps does, and I am proud to be on the crusade.

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