Dr. Robert C. Atkins, founder and medical chair of the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine in New York City, was a champion for the healing arts as a safe and effective alternative to pharmaceuticals and surgery for many debilitating illnesses, helping to bring national attention and credibility to integrative medicine as a serious medical approach.
Throughout more than 40 years of practice, Dr. Atkins, a cardiologist, stressed the importance of proper diet in concert with nutritional support to prevent and combat heart disease, diabetes and obesity, all of which have reached the epidemic proportions he predicted.
His pioneering controlled carbohydrate approach to weight management challenged conventional medical and nutritional science, and established him as an international leader in both natural medicine and nutritional pharmacology.
Dr. Atkins wrote many books promoting controlled carbohydrate nutrition and complementary medicine techniques. His Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution was among the top 10 books on The New York Times bestseller list for almost six years, selling in excess of 15 million copies worldwide, and ultimately becoming one of the top selling books of all time. His final book, Atkins for Life, has sold more than 1.5 million copies.
Named one of Time magazine's "People Who Mattered" in 2002, and among People magazine's 25 "Most Intriguing People" at the end of the 20th century, Dr. Atkins was a recipient of the World Organization of Alternative Medicine's Recognition of Achievement Award, and was also the National Health Federation's Man of the Year. He was cofounder and past president of the Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine.
An influential, yet often controversial, media source on nutrition and health issues, Dr. Atkins was regularly interviewed by print and broadcast news outlets, and appeared on such programs as "Larry King Live," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "CBS This Morning," "Dateline NBC," and "The Barbara Walters Special."
In 1999, Dr. Atkins and his wife Veronica established a private foundation to trace the origin of the obesity problem by funding independent scientific research into the roles of metabolism and nutrition in disease prevention and health management. After his death four years later, a successor foundation was created to continue this work. Since then, the scope of projects has grown from the study of diabetes to other chronic health conditions including cancer, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. It is one of the few medical philanthropy organizations in the United States dedicated to this area of research, and the funding of novel pilot studies that otherwise may not receive support. Its ultimate objective: Advance the science, from the laboratory into the community, to raise public awareness about the importance of sound nutrition habits in achieving good health - a goal to which Dr. Atkins devoted his life.