Dr. Peter Attia is Co-Founder of Nutrition Science Initiative-dedicated to reducing the individual, social, and economic costs associated with obesity-related diseases (diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease). His medical career began as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute working on immune-based treatments for cancer, while completing his residency in general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Frustrated with certain aspects of medicine and health care, and the lack of focus in preventative health, he left his residency and joined McKinsey & Company, where he split his time between working on healthcare problems and financial system problems. Dr. Attia is one of "30 Most Influential People in Public Health - 2014."
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Peter Attia, MD was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and studied mechanical engineering and applied mathematics as an undergrad at Queen's University. Shortly before starting his PhD in aerospace engineering, he had a change of heart following a profound personal experience, and decided he wanted to become a doctor. After taking the prerequisites, he enrolled at Stanford Medical School. While doing his residency in general surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital he also spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at NIH in the National Cancer Institute as a surgical oncology fellow working on immune-based treatments for cancer.
During the fifth year of his residency he became a bit frustrated with certain aspects of medicine and health care, and grew tired of the notion that doctors did little to keep patients healthy, and were basically the last line of defense against, well, death, once patients become ill. He left residency to join the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he split his time between working on healthcare problems (ranging from problems for health insurance "payers" to those of large hospital systems "providers" to those of medical device companies) and financial system problems (specifically, credit risk modeling and Basel II compliance for large banks).
In 2012, along with science journalist Gary Taubes, he co-founded the Nutrition Science Initiative, or NuSI (pronounced "new-see"). NuSI is a California-based 501(c)(3) dedicated to reducing the individual, social, and economic costs associated with obesity-related diseases (diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease).
The problem Dr. Attia is trying to fight is dire. Here are some data to put the problem in context:
~ 34% of Americans are obese and two thirds are overweight. This represents more than a 200% increase from 1970.
~ Over 8% of Americans are diabetic, and if you include those undiagnosed, an additional 26% of Americans are pre-diabetic. This represents more than a 400% increase from 1970.
~ Every 7 seconds someone in the world dies from a diabetic complication (this is not a typo).
~ Diabetes is also the leading cause of stroke, blindness, kidney failure requiring transplantation, all amputations combined, and many other medical problems.
~ According to McKinsey & Company, reducing the U.S. obesity rate to 15% (that of 1970) would save approximately $150 billion per year in Medicare spending alone, and close to $500 billion per year in overall U.S. healthcare spending.
~ A recent study in Obesity estimates that by 2030, 50% of Americans will be obese and 79% will be overweight.
~ The U.S. spends over $2.7 trillion per year on healthcare - nearly 19% of our GDP, and more than any other country. Even if no other aspect of our spending increases in the next 20 years, the cost of healthcare alone will bankrupt us as a country.