Dr. Gutin and others at the MCG Georgia Prevention Institute work to do just that.
He has been principal investigator on a half-dozen National Institutes of Health grants in the last 10 years examining the impact of fitness on fatness and vice versa. He and his colleagues are in the middle of the MCG FitKid Project, funded by a $3.3 million NIH grant, looking at whether after-school hours filled with physical activity, healthy snacks, homework and academic enrichment skills can help turn the tide of the 'obesogenic' environment of inactivity and unhealthy eating in which many children live.
It appears the public also is taking an interest. "We hear a lot about putting physical education back in school. We are seeing legislation coming forth at the national and state level and I have the feeling we might be able to turn this around," says Dr. Gutin. But it's a tough fight, with societal trends including fast food and excessive screen time. In his own childhood in the Bronx, his brother had to hunt him down to get him to stop playing long enough to come inside and eat a home-cooked meal.
He's excited about helping another country learn from the mistakes and experience of his own and keep it from following in the tracks toward obesity and inactivity.
Dr. Gutin came to MCG in 1991 from Columbia University in New York. He earned a master's degree in physical education and a doctorate in higher education from New York University. He completed postdoctoral training in stress physiology at the University of California, Santa Barbara Institute of Environmental
Contact: Toni Baker
Medical College of Georgia