1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
Abigail Allen, MD, Director, Pediatric Orthopaedic Clinic Leni & Peter May Department of Orthopaedics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Age 36. I am a Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon.
2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
Indirectly speaking though, I would definitely say my dad inspired me to be active.
To be completely honest, no one directly inspired me to ‘eat healthy and stay fit.’ Those were words that just weren’t uttered in the 70s and 80s in central Pennsylvania where I grew up. As children, we just played. All day. Every day. We didn’t have X-Boxes and Nintendo DSs — OK — eventually we had an Atari 2600 — but even when we had the Atari, we weren’t glued in front of it for 7 hours at a time. We played outside for the most part.
3. What did they do to inspire you?
My dad would take my friend and I to the local high school basketball games when we were younger. Not only was it great father-daughter bonding, but it also got my friend and I into the game and we both went on to play high school basketball ourselves.
As another example, I also remember him having the “Tour de France” on the television as a young child and I would ride tirelessly around the block over and over again — pretending that I was Greg Lamonde — winning the yellow jersey!
My dad himself was a competitive wrestler when he was young — so I think that competitiveness wore off on me a bit.
4. How did their lesson change your life?
His influence was just the start — I have become more and more active as my life has progressed — no matter how busy it gets, staying active has and will always play a role in my life.
5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
I convey the importance of maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle every day at my job since I work in the field of children’s orthopaedics. I all too often see childhood ailments caused by being overweight. They even need surgery in some cases to help them — but surgery should not be interpreted as a quick fix — they will likely have repercussions stemming from their obesity for the rest of their lives.
As for my own daughter, she is not yet old enough to dribble a basketball or ride a bike — but in the meantime, we get outside: we make daily trips to the park and this summer, we plan on swimming on the weekends!
6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?
I focused a lot of my previous answers on being active, because the questions were asking about my own childhood and diet never really came into the equation then. Being active and maintaining a healthy diet usually go hand in hand, but not always. To be truthful, now that I have more knowledge than I did when I was in grade school, diet is is probably 5 times as important as exercise. So I make sure parents and children know that when they come into my office.
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?