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Disease Proof (Book Review)

Monday, October 14, 2013

I just finished reading Disease Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well by Dr. David Katz and Stacey Colino. For us regulars on SparkPeople, I don't think any of what is said is new information. What sets this book apart is that the authors want the reader to develop "skill power" (in addition to willpower) and provides concrete ways to build skills around positive health behaviors.

For example, the authors provide tips on learning how to cook, how to find time to exercise, etc. They say that what you do with your feet (exercise), forks (food), and fingers (smoking) can cut disease risks by 80%. They don't talk much about smoking, but go in depth about how to improve health through food and exercise.

My main criticism of the book is that the main author, David Katz, is responsible for the NuVal rating system for the healthfulness of food. In the book, he explains how the system was created and how it ranks food -- a higher NuVal score means better nutrition. They sell this system to grocery stores to display on their shelves so consumers can choose between different types of food they are considering. While the back of the book lists NuVal scores for some food, it is not exhaustive. And they don't share their full list anywhere. If this system really was for consumer education, they would make it more available to consumers in a variety of ways -- the grocery store, apps, the NuVal website. Instead, the authors suggest that readers contact the corporate end of the grocery store to get NuVal displayed locally. The author often says he's not selling anything, but that isn't exactly true.

Overall, though, the book has an interesting take on building "skill power" to improve our health behaviors.

Some links:
The book:

David Katz on US News & World Report blog Eat + Run:
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v AMYD726
    "Skill Power"...I like that. Might have to check this one out. Thanks for the review!
    958 days ago
    I love when people do book reviews on here! Helps me find my next good book to read!
    959 days ago
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