Even if he wasn’t a familiar face from his many health and medical reports on ABC News and Good Morning America, with five children, Dr David Katz told The Newtown Bee during a recent interview, he has plenty of practical “hands-on” advice to share with fellow parents.
And he plans to do just that with as many moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers he can pack into the Newtown Meeting House when he is welcomed by Newtown Prevention Council as the second guest in its “Parent Speaker Series” on Tuesday, January 28, at 7 pm.
According to his bio at davidkatzmd.com, David Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, is the founding (1998) director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. He is a two-time diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a board-certified specialist in preventive medicine/public health, and a clinical instructor in medicine at the Yale School of Medicine.
In addition, Dr Katz is the editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, president-elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, founder and president of the nonprofit Turn the Tide Foundation, and medical director for the Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital.
Dr Katz has published nearly 200 scientific articles and textbook chapters; innumerable blogs and columns; nearly 1,000 newspaper articles; and authored or co-authored 15 books to date, including multiple editions of textbooks in both nutrition and preventive medicine.
He was a founding director of one of the nation’s first combined residency training programs in internal medicine and preventive medicine at Griffin Hospital, and served as director of medical studies in public health at the Yale University School of Medicine for eight years.
Dr Katz’s extensive media portfolio includes his work for ABC News/Good Morning America as an on-air contributor, a writer for the New York Times syndicate, and a columnist to O, the Oprah Magazine. Currently, he is a blogger/medical review board member for The Huffington Post, a health contributor to US News & World Report, one of the original 150 “thought leader” influencer bloggers for LinkedIn; and a health writer for Everyday Health.
He has led classes and given lectures for Yale students in medicine, public health, nursing, the physician assistants program, and undergraduates, as well as medical residents and faculty.
Raising five children has provided Dr Katz and his wife Catherine with loads of in-home “research” to talk about with those who attend next week’s program in Newtown.
“I think my professional life and my own family life blend seamlessly,” Dr Katz said. “And in both cases, my goal is to add years to life and to add life to years. And cultivating a life of health and wellness begins at home.”
Dr Katz said he draws much of his professional inspiration from his family and his home life, while his wife and children benefit from the skill set Dr Katz has built over the years.
“I’d like to pay that forward to the parents of Newtown. I know the community is facing the indelible association with the Sandy Hook tragedy,” he said. “But we’re losing life from years and years from life every day because we aren’t harnessing the power of lifestyle management, and how we use our feet and fork to achieve that goal.”
Dr Katz, whose youngest is a high school freshman and whose oldest two children are out of college and living independently, said every parent and attendee to the Prevention Council event can take a few basic steps to add years and enjoy a greater quality of life.
“I really want everyone attending to know they can do this for their own family,” he said.
As far as finding ways to fit physical activities into a busy daily family lifestyle, Dr Katz points families to his ABC and ABE initiatives. The “Activity Bursts In the Classroom,” and “Activity Bursts Everywhere” tips are available free online.
“On the food side, rather than giving up the food we love, I favor trading up our choices so we can come to love the foods that love us back,” he said.
He also advises parents to check out his “Nutrition Detective” site, and to consider utilizing the “NuVal” nutritional guidance system he developed, that is used at the local Big Y supermarket.
Dr Katz’s new book, Disease Proof, also combines a massive variety of resources and points that he has acquired over his career, and concentrates the best and most proven practices he has found for improving health and lifestyle.
The physician said he also understands the challenge of getting adolescents and teens to begin adopting the healthy practices he will be covering during his upcoming visit to Newtown. But he said it all starts with love.
“I will confess that I didn’t wait until my kids were adolescents, and it can be a challenging time to start. But people need to realize that adolescents need to express their individuality, but it doesn’t mean they don’t care — even if they act like they don’t care,” Dr Katz said. “As long as what you do, you’re doing out of love — it’s going to stick now or eventually.
“The issue parents need to convey to their kids is, ‘I love you, and I want you to have the best possible life, period.’ Healthy people have more fun and you want the best for them,” he continued. “Parents don’t think about what religion to share with their kids, or politics, so parents need to make health one of their family values. And most importantly, they need to demonstrate that behavior related to healthy eating and activity themselves.”
He said his goal will be to bring families together in Newtown.
“We can cultivate a culture of wellness so we help one-another get there,” Dr Katz said, “and in that unity there is the strength to get the job done.”
“Parent Speaker Series: Feet, Forks & The Fate of Our Families” will begin at 7 pm Tuesday, January 28. Originally scheduled to take place at Booth Library, the program has been moved to Newtown Meeting House, 31 Main Street.
Admission is free, but reservations are being requested and can be done through the library website.