UTC Professor’s Mission: To Save Lives

By: Meaghan Dant
Chattanooga, TN (UTC)–Due to Americans poor choice of lifestyle, the U.S. has recently been deemed the “obese nation”. Obesity seems to have become more the norm and has grown to a widespread epidemic.

The problem is due in large part to lack of education and no incentive to get and obtain a healthy lifestyle.

One man who spent more than three decades to research on prevention and consequences of obesity is Dr. Greg Heath.
Dr. Heath, head of Health and Human Performance Department, became a visionary in this field more than 35 years ago.

His journey began in college as a student-athlete. “I gravitated towards the study of exercise because of my background as an intercollegiate cross country and distance runner,” Heath said.

From there, he decided to do graduate training in epidemiology and public health, and chose to study chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes mellitus, and their preventative treatment.

From his studies and research, Dr. Heath became most interested in the health behaviors of diet nutrition and physical activity. “I was intrigued by the role that lifestyle played in the cause of these diseases, where a healthy lifestyle through physical activity, health eating, non-smoking, moderate alcohol intake, and weight management were all associated with lower risks of developing these disease.”

Now Dr. Heath has taken his findings and put them into effect in Chattanooga.  “All of my research is carried out within and among community groups and is intended to be translated to community practice.”

Heath hopes that through his research people gain insights to how their lives could be.

Dr. Heath believes a shift to a health lifestyle needs to start from our behaviors reflected from our current overfed, consumerist, and self-centered culture to a culture that values active living and good nutrition.

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