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Natalie Digate-Muth

"Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician, registered dietitian and health coach. She practices general pediatrics with a focus on healthy family routines, nutrition, physical activity and behavior change in North County, San Diego. She also serves as the senior advisor for healthcare solutions at the American Council on Exercise. Natalie is the author of five books and is committed to helping every child and family thrive. She is a strong advocate for systems and communities that support prevention and wellness across the lifespan, beginning at 9 months of age."

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Article Archive

Motivational Interviewing: Talking Their Way to Health

May 14, 2019

Do you want to be a wrestler or a dancer?

This question stands at the center of motivational interviewing (MI), which emerged more than three decades ago to assist people in making difficult changes like overcoming addiction. Health coaches can use MI to help people stop harmful behaviors and start helpful ones. Consider a likely scenario:

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Helping Clients Enjoy the Taste and Culture of Food

February 18, 2019

It’s time for Americans to shift their focus from calories, macronutrients and micronutrients to taste, culture and mindfulness. After all, our preoccupation with dieting and health fads has us restricting foods, chasing unsustainable weight loss goals and feeling bad about our nutrition choices—but all we have to show for it is rising rates of overweight, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

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An Action Plan to Combat Adolescent Obesity

September 21, 2018

Weight Watchers® set off a furor early this year when it announced plans to launch a free program for teens.

As we are in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic, critics pounced: Is a company named “Weight Watchers” that encourages weekly weigh-ins the proper vehicle for helping teens improve their health? Will the company trigger the development of an eating disorder in some teens? Is this just a ploy to lure new lifelong customers?

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To Grow Healthier, Happier Adults, Raise Fit Kids

August 13, 2018

Today’s inactive kids are tomorrow’s unhealthy adults. Our society will pay the price for young people’s profound lack of exercise if we fail to turn this trend around. Few behaviors more significantly influence child health than physical activity. Yet children and adolescents are not moving enough, at the expense of their own health as well as that of their communities. More needs to be done to support families and society in raising fit kids.

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Environmental Endocrine Disruptors Partly to Blame for Weight Regain in Women?

May 17, 2018

Maintaining weight loss is extraordinarily difficult for most people for myriad reasons, some understood and others less so.
In February, PLOS Medicine published results of the first randomized controlled human study looking for connections between weight loss and exposure to synthetic chemicals called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The researchers found that higher blood levels of PFAS don’t affect weight loss but are associated with greater weight regain, especially in women.

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Trending: Sparkling Water

May 17, 2018

Out with soda and in with . . . sparkling water. Health-conscious Americans looking for a carbonated-beverage fix are in luck as sparkling water takes over store shelves across the country. The sugar-free bubbling water is a great hydration source and is free of artificial sweeteners and other processed ingredients common in diet sodas.

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Childhood Obesity Stats Remain Grim

May 17, 2018

A February study in the journal Pediatrics debunked reports that childhood obesity rates were leveling off or in decline. In fact, the study found that despite substantial efforts to curb the epidemic in recent years, obesity rates have increased for every demographic—especially preschool children and adolescent girls. Moreover, the study cited a substantial rise in severe obesity in children.

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As the Nutrition Label Turns

May 15, 2018

The nutrition label on packaged products is to be revamped—but when is anyone’s guess. The Obama administration approved a July 2018 deadline, which the Trump team pushed back to January 2020, citing concerns that industry needed more time to comply (the 2020 date is for larger companies; smaller businesses have a year longer).
In March, the FDA issued guidance to industry on the new labels, prompting some consumer advocacy organizations to urge the FDA to move up compliance dates. After all, more than 15,000 products on shelves already carry the new label.

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Cracking The Nutrition Code On Toddler Drinks

May 15, 2018

An April study looked at the marketing and promotion of toddler drinks—formulas, milk drinks and other beverages for children aged 9–36 months. The research, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, found that these drinks are heavily marketed to parents, poorly regulated, and nutritionally inferior to whole cow’s milk and a balanced diet. The drinks consist primarily of powdered milk, corn syrup solids or other added caloric sweeteners, plus vegetable oil. They also have more sodium and less protein than cow’s milk.

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Wansink Studies Discredited

May 15, 2018

Some of the most profound and useful study findings on the psychology and marketing of food and eating published over the past two decades may be invalid. The famed, and now shunned, Cornell researcher Brian Wansink and his Food and Brand Lab published hundreds of studies, many of which have not stood up to scientific scrutiny.

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Experts Torn On Weight Watchers’ Free Teen Program

May 15, 2018

As part of an effort to rebuild its brand as a health-and-wellness company rather than a diet brand (and to gain new loyal customers), Weight Watchers® announced in February that it will start a free weight management program for teens this summer. Controversy erupted immediately among health professionals and the public.

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USDA Retires SuperTracker

May 15, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will retire SuperTracker on June 30. SuperTracker is a free online nutrition, goal-tracking and food analysis tool, which more than 27 million people have used since its launch in 2011. The USDA says many other private nutrition tools are readily available and that it would like to spend its resources finding more efficient and modern ways to “help Americans find an eating style that is right for them.”

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There Is Arsenic in Your Rice

March 15, 2018

For generations, pediatricians have recommended rice cereal as a first food for babies in the transition to eating solids. Rice cereal is easy for babies to eat and is high in iron, an important nutrient for growing brains. However, recent research cited in Consumer Reports found persistently high levels of arsenic in rice and rice products, including infant rice cereal.
Rice tends to absorb more arsenic than other grains mostly because it is grown in water-flooded soil.

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Sugary Drinks in Pregnancy Linked to Increased Asthma Risk in Babies

March 15, 2018

The thirst for sugary drinks remains strong in all U.S. populations despite multiple health risks. However, moms-to-be have a new reason to decrease (or better, eliminate) sugary drinks during their pregnancies. A new study in Annals of the American Thoracic Society suggests that limiting intake of sweetened beverages may lower babies’ asthma risk in childhood (in addition to reducing the risk of obesity).

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