David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM, is the Founding Director (1998) of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and former President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He has published roughly 200 scientific articles and textbook chapters, and 15 books to date, including multiple editions of leading textbooks in both preventive medicine, and nutrition. He has made important contributions in the areas of lifestyle interventions for health promotion; nutrient profiling; behavior modification; holistic care; and evidence-based medicine. David earned his BA degree from Dartmouth College (1984); his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1988); and his MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health (1993). He completed sequential residency training in Internal Medicine, and Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He is a two-time diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a board-certified specialist in Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He has received two Honorary Doctorates.
An opinion piece was recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine with the provocative title: “No wonder no one trusts us.” The writer, a doctor, imagines a dialogue with a patient - Mr. Jones - based on the shifting recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force about prostate cancer screening.
Ancel Keys, arguably the most influential nutrition scientist of the past half century or so, died in 2004 at the age of 100. Keys invented the “K ration,” named for him, that provided our deployed military with portable and complete nutrition.
I had a crew from Good Morning America in my home a couple of months ago to film an interview about the documentary, What the Health. Along with everyone else, I wait to see what sound bites survive from roughly an hour of detailed commentary.
As I listen to the seemingly ceaseless, virtual shouting about diet and health these days, much of it self-serving, and little of it genuinely informative or helpful, I am reminded of my now five-year-old wish that we might better separate church and plate. How did what should be a topic based on the aggregation of scientific evidence, time honored good sense, expert consensus, and personal preference- take on the strident passions and dangerous fervor of a Holy War?