- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Oct. 3, 2012
What will it take to reverse the obesity epidemic?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
The prestigious medical journal "JAMA" recently devoted an entire issue to the topic of obesity — from research on risk factors for childhood obesity to outcomes of gastric bypass surgery. It also provided a wide range of viewpoints on the role of genetics, medications, environment, online apps, self-control and the government in the "battle of the bulge."
Also just released was the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012." The report reveals staggering statistics about obesity. It also forecasts the 2030 adult obesity rates for each state and the associated rise in obesity-related disease and health care costs:
- Currently 35.7 percent of American adults and 16.9 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese (defined as a body mass index over 30).
- If trends do not change, by 2030 the obesity rate for adults could top 44 percent nationally. In addition, rates could exceed 50 percent in 39 states and 60 percent in 13 states.
- Currently more than 25 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, 27 million have chronic heart disease, 68 million have hypertension and 795,000 suffer a stroke each year. Approximately one in three deaths from cancer each year (approximately 190,650) are related to obesity, poor nutrition or physical inactivity.
- In the next 20 years, obesity could contribute to more than 6 million cases of type 2 diabetes, 5 million cases of coronary heart disease and stroke, and more than 400,000 cases of cancer.
- By 2030 costs associated with treating preventable obesity-related diseases are estimated to increase by $48 billion to $66 billion a year. The loss in economic productivity could be between $390 and $580 billion annually.
- It's also projected that if the average body mass index was reduced by just 5 percent by 2030, thousands or millions of people could avoid obesity-related diseases, thereby saving billions of dollars in health care costs.
I'm encouraged that these reports show that we're getting serious about obesity and acknowledging that it's a massive public and personal health problem. Health care professionals are no longer pessimistic in their approach to obesity. Government is funding research into causes, effects, prevention and novel treatments.
There is no "silver bullet" and it will take the combined efforts of every segment of society to address this disease. This is nothing new. After all this is what it took to address other public health threats, such as HIV/AIDS, infant mortality, polio, car safety and tobacco.
I want to add that the most important aspect of reversing the obesity epidemic is personal responsibility and taking care of ourselves, our family and friends.
What are you contributing to the solution? You might start by watching the short video "The Obesity Epidemic" on the Obesity Society website: www.obesity.org/news-center/the-obesity-epidemic.htm.blog index
- Livingston EH, Zylke JW. Obesity: A JAMA theme issue. JAMA. 2012;308:1063.
- F as in fat: How obesity threatens America's future 2012. Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. http://healthyamericans.org/report/100. Accessed Oct. 1, 2012.
- The obesity epidemic. Obesity Society. http://www.obesity.org/news-center/the-obesity-epidemic.htm. Accessed Oct. 1, 2012.