A research foundation dedicated to advancing practical, real-world strategies for empowering the American family to resist the ravages of our obesigenic environment, under the personal direction of David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP; Yale University School of Medicine.
Board of Directors
President Dr. David Katz
Acting Executive Director, Beth Patton Comerford, MS
Treasurer Dr. Barry Nalebuff: Director Honest Tea, Author, and professor at Yale School of Management
Secretary Ms. Liz Paley: Senior VP of marketing for Polo Ralph Lauren
Advisory Board Members
Dr. Francine Kaufman
Mrs. Mitzi Purdue
Dr. Walter Willett
Mr. Bert Yaffe
The opportunity to turn the tide of obesity and chronic disease begins by recognizing that we have created a perfect storm of obesity-causing factors. We are victims of our own success. And since human physiology is the same as it ever was, while the modern environment is the same as it never was before, the opportunities to reverse obesity trends - just like the causes - are all around us!
Mission: To develop and evaluate creative, practical strategies in real-world settings for empowering families to achieve optimal nutrition, robust good health, and sustainable weight control. To disseminate successful strategies. To work tirelessly to devise a robust array of defenses every family can use to protect itself from the threat of obesity and attendant chronic disease.
Vision: A future in which obesity is no longer a major cause of chronic disease, no longer epidemic, and no longer a threat to our children. A modern world in which eating well, being physically active, remaining lean and enjoying robust good health all lie along the path of least resistance, and are simply routine.
- To use research to assess the most effective means of empowering families to combat the obesity and diabetes epidemics
- To test creative opportunities for improving nutrition, fitness, weight control, and health in various settings, including schools, worksites, communities, and health care
- To develop a balanced array of obesity prevention strategies that focus appropriately on environmental change when necessary, and personal empowerment when possible
- To use demonstrations of effective strategies to influence policy and program planning
- To identify effective strategies through research, that schools can use to teach healthy eating and exercise that fit in with their priorities and the local environment
- To determine the best way to encourage children of all ages to eat healthy and exercise daily
- To work with the media to disseminate effective messages on nutrition and exercise
Background: More than 65% of adults in the US are overweight, and that figure continues to rise. The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the past two decades. As a result, type 2 diabetes- formerly 'adult onset diabetes'- is at epidemic levels in adults and children alike! Less than a generation ago, type 2 diabetes in children was all but unknown. Because diabetes is a potent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the occurrence of 'adult-onset' diabetes prior to age 10 portends the development of heart disease at an ever-earlier age, too. On our current trajectory, the day may dawn when heart attack is routinely an adolescent condition! Already, children growing up in the United States will suffer more chronic disease and premature death over the course of their lives from eating poorly and lack of physical activity than from exposure to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs- combined! Our children may be headed toward life spans shorter than ours.
Opportunity: Obesity is simple. We gain weight when calories in exceed calories out; period. Forces on both sides of the energy balance equation conspire against us. We have more tasty calories available than ever before in history, and more technology to do what muscles used to do. Our ancestors did not have will power we lack; rather, they lacked the vending machines and video games that we have! Quite simply, we get fat- BECAUSE WE CAN! Human beings have no native defenses against caloric excess, or the lure of the couch- because throughout our history, it has always made sense to eat and relax when we could.
Radical changes in the environment - that have taken us from a world of no cars to one with rovers on the surface of Mars in less than a century- have turned the native traits and tendencies of human beings into liabilities, and risk factors for obesity. We are as out of place in this modern environment awash in calories as polar bears would be in the Sahara Desert! Polar bears soak up and retain heat, and thus thrive where heat is scarce. But they would continue to soak up heat- and overheat- if suddenly transported to an environment where heat was abundant.
That is, in essence, just what has happened to us. We are a fuel efficient species. We soak up and retain food energy well. We suddenly find ourselves floating in a sea of calories- and, of course, continue to soak up food energy. We overeat in this modern world for all the same reasons polar bears would overheat in the desert.
But there is an opportunity for us in viewing our plight this way. Because we are smarter than the average bear! And empowered with the right knowledge, skills, and strategies, we can overcome the obesigenic (i.e., obesity causing) element in our environment, and reclaim our health! Go to http://www.thewaytoeat.net for more detail on how to eat right.
Using multiple strategies to combat obesity is akin to stacking "sandbags" against a flood-tide. No one sand bag, however well made, can stop a flood. But stack enough sandbags, and you have a formidable protective barrier. We need such a barrier to protect us all from the flood of obesity-causing factors. No one program is the answer. But an array of thoughtful, practical, and well placed programs- can turn the tide!
Your involvement and commitment is needed to provide the wherewithal to Turn the Tide to:
- Influence leaders in government, education, public planning, and the medical professions;
- Improve your health and the health of your family through honest and accurate information;
- Provide funding, or offer guidance to important funding sources, to sustain and expand Turn the Tide Foundation's research agendas. To make a donation go to how to donate.
For more information on how you can help click here go to How to Help.
Research Agenda: Turn the Tide Foundation, Inc. will support vital, evolving research agenda that grows over time and in response to changing societal need. Development of initiatives and evaluation will be under the direct supervision of Dr. Katz, and will be informed by his extensive knowledge of obesity prevention strategies, and his extensive network of expert colleagues. The initial intervention planned includes implementing and studying the following programs.
NUTRITION DETECTIVES® "Teaching Kids to Make Healthy Choices"
A nutrition education program for elementary school children devoted to teaching them how to interpret food labels, see past food industry marketing deceptions, and choose healthy foods.
ABC for Fitness© "5 minute activity bursts in the classroom"
Activity Bursts in the Classroom can ensure that children obtain the levels of physical activity that are essential for good health and well-being.
Nnoledge "Nutrition Navigation on-Line Edge"
An online tool that determines one's barriers to weight loss and diabetes control.
Nutrition Quality Labeling "A food ranking system"
A sophisticated system for ranking foods from healthiest to least healthy.
NICHE "Novel, Interactive Cell-phone Technology for Health Enhancement"
This program involves a novel wireless remote patient monitoring and response system that provides daily coaching that can be used to help individuals with diabetes and other obesity related disorders.
OWCH "On-line Weight management Counseling program for Healthcare providers"
This program will offer CME credit to physicians, and lead to ‘credentialing' in obesity counseling, which would then allow physicians to be reimbursed for their time by insurance companies.
Good to Go Gang "A Healthy School Lunch Option"
This program provides a school lunch kit that includes a highly nutritious meal, action figures, and a comic book that conveys engaging messages about health.