Yale professor speaks about issue of obesity

Bruce Walton

Dr. David Katz

Dr. David Katz speaks about preventing obesity.

Dr. David Katz, director and founder of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, spoke Thursday at the Kiva. His speech, “Feet, Forks and the Fate of Our Species,” discussed the causes and prevention of child and adult obesity.

Dr. Katz, associate professor in Public Health Practice at the Yale University School of Medicine, began the annual start of the Gerald H. Read Distinguished Lecture Series. This series, which every year concentrates on the awareness of a global pandemic chosen by the conference committee university teaching coucil, focused on obesity this year.

Katz’s speech analyzed that the causes and preventions of obesity and public health were not just involved individually, but psychologically, sociologically and genetically as well.

“We have to stop attacking the victims of the problem,” Katz said, “and that begins by acknowledging that obesity is not a behavior. Weight is not a choice. Nobody wakes up and decides what to weigh today.”

Katz also provided his own educated method to prevent obesity. In his speech, he proposed the metaphor that preventing obesity was like building a levee against a flood. To prevent the flood, which represents the challenge of obesity, we lay sandbags, which represent methods to prevent obesity.

However people cannot stack one sandbag and assume it will stop the whole flood. Katz encouraged audience members to each “stack a sandbag and be part of the solution.”

Katz also provided prevention programs in his speech, most he organized and founded by himself. One such program is Activity Boosts Everywhere, an adult fitness program created by the Yale University’s Prevention Research Center to help adults and young adults lose weight through exercises that can be performed in small intervals to fit the brief scheduling of adults.

Christopher Vogliano, graduate student in nutrition, said, “Seeing (Dr. Katz’s) prospective from a medical background was definitely a breath of fresh air for us.”

Katz said some of the best advice he gives is from a quote by nutrition expert Michael Pollan that says, “Eat food not too much, mostly plants.”

Though as Katz said, “Good advice may be hard or easy to swallow, and unfortunately, this advice is hard to swallow (in America).”

Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected].