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One doctor’s plan for keeping kids healthy

AMY J. BARRY, Special to The Day

Publication: The Day

Published October 16. 2013 4:00AM

Feet + Forks = Healthy Kids + Healthy Community is Dr. David Katz's prescription for getting childhood obesity under control.

The founding director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center and an international expert in the field of nutrition, weight management and chronic disease prevention, Katz will be the keynote speaker at the Community Coalition for Children's major annual event at the Garde Arts Center on Oct. 21.

The coalition's main focus is to sponsor informational presentations and teen summits to give practical solutions for helping children thrive.

Katz is the author of "Stealth Health" and the recently published "Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well."

The title of his talk is fairly self-explanatory: "feet" refers to physical activity; "forks" refers to diet, but what is most important is that healthy kids and communities result from making even small changes in food and exercise choices.

"We have a large volume of evidence that if people don't smoke, eat healthfully, and are physically active, we can eliminate 80 percent of chronic disease," Katz says.

He says children and adults alike can wait for the world to change or each of us can change to acquire the skills needed to get health in the world as it is. He notes that incorporating just 30 minutes of physical activity into the school day can make a big difference.

"It's very easy to do; it doesn't interfere with learning. It actually makes children better learners and improves their health," he notes.

The same holds true for adults.

"Thirty minutes of activity can fit into the work day, even if (one doesn't have) time to exercise before or after work."

As for children's diets, Katz has a lot of experience as the father of five and husband of an expert cook, Catherine Katz, Ph.D., who developed the recipes and meal plan for his book "The Flavor Full Diet" and for www.thewaytoeat.net. The recipes were subject to his high nutritional standards and her high cooking standards.

The couple also collaborated to develop "The Nutrition Detectives Program" to teach children "to see past food industry deceptions and make good choices in the supermarket." The program is now in schools throughout Connecticut and the U.S.

Lemon-Poppy Soft Wheat Muffins

From "The Flavor Full Diet." Makes 12 muffins.

3/4 cup fat-free lemon yogurt

Grated peel of 1 lemon

2 eggs

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 cups soft wheat pastry flour*

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup fat-free milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place yogurt, lemon peel, eggs, sugar, dry milk, poppy seeds and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until creamy.

Add the flour and baking powder and beat on low speed, adding the milk slowly until well blended.

Place 12 foil baking cups on a baking sheet or line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Spoon in the batter, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden.

*Any brand of soft wheat (not whole wheat) flour with fiber is fine.

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IF YOU GO

What: Community Coalition for Children hosts "Feet + Forks = Healthy Kids + Healthy Community," a talk by Dr. David Katz

Where: Garde Arts Center, 325 State St., New London

When: Monday, Oct. 21; 7 p.m. Health fair in the lobby begins at 6 p.m.

Cost: Free and open to the public. Free childcare with advance registration.

Info and registration: www.communitycoalitionforchildren.org or call (860) 444-4790.

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