Written by Leigh Ettinger, MD, MS, Medical Advisor to Camp Shane


Firstly, I would like to thank Ziporah Janowski and David Ettenberg for giving me this platform to share what I have learned about obesity. I am excited to be a part of the Camp Shane family.

Dr. Leigh's Corner: The Standard American Diet & ObesityI am a pediatric nephrologist at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. That means that after college I went to medical school and then did a pediatric residency to learn how to be a General Pediatrician. With the desire to take care of the sickest of the sick I then did a pediatric nephrology fellowship to learn how to manage kidney disease in children. Over the nearly 15 years that I have been doing this, I have seen more and more of my patients struggling with obesity. I took it upon myself to dive into the medical literature to understand this complicated epidemic.

Honestly, what I have found is a complete mess. There is so much conflicting information it makes a person just want to throw up their hands and not think about it. I did make at least this one conclusion: The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is making us sick. With such high rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension in this country, if you eat like everyone else you will increase your risk of becoming sick like just about everyone else. Any step away from the S.A.D. diet is going to reduce your risk of those outcomes.

Over the course of this blog, I will try to help you make those steps. One of the difficulties that I have noticed for myself and for others trying to eat well is that it can be hard to actively NOT eat like everyone else. Declining that invitation from buddies to go to the fast food joint, telling your aunt that you’re passing on her homemade dessert at the holiday dinner, or bringing a brown bag lunch to the high school cafeteria (the horror!) goes against our very instincts to fit in and belong. A sense of community is powerful and eating differently can feel lonely. Well, if you are reading this then I assume that you are a part of the Camp Shane community. And, from what I have learned from Ziporah and David, that is a powerful community feeling that you can take with you forever and refresh whenever you need.