Walter C. Willett, M.D., Nutrition
Why LHJ loves him: What's not to love? We fell for him when we first read his book Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, and so did everyone else. With all the crazy, conflicting information out there on nutrition, he's the absolutely authoritative voice of reason.
Medical degree: University of Michigan Medical School, 1970.
Postdoctoral training: Internship, Harvard Medical Service, Boston City Hospital; fellowship in family and ambulatory medicine, Boston City Hospital; residency in medicine, Boston City Hospital; research fellowship in medicine, Harvard Medical School; research fellowship in medicine, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Bio: Dr. Willett was born in Hart, Michigan, and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a doctorate in public health from Harvard School of Public Health. He has focused much of his work over the past 25 years on the development of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses' Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Together, these cohorts, which include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments, are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.
Dr. Willett has published more than 1,000 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He also has three books book for the general public, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, which has appeared on most major bestseller lists, Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less, co-authored with Mollie Katzen, and most recently, The Fertility Diet, co-authored with Jorge Chavarro and Pat Skerrett. Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritionist internationally, and is among the five most cited persons in all fields of clinical science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research.