Meet Dr. Natalie Muth

This CPCMG pediatrician is passionate about nutrition, physical activity and advocating wellness for families. She loves to walk and coordinates the Walk with a Doc program in Carlsbad. Meet Dr. Natalie Muth, pediatrician at CPCMG La Costa.

At what CPCMG office do you work?
I work at the La Costa office in Carlsbad.

How long have you worked there?
I have been at the CPCMG La Costa office since December 2016. Prior to that I was at CPCMG Vista for several years. I’ve always wanted to be able to walk my kids to school and walk to work, and now I can many days. In fact, the La Costa office is across the street from Stagecoach Park where I also lead a program for CPCMG called “Walk with a Doc” every Tuesday at 4 p.m. I love the patients, team, and our beautiful new clinic at La Costa. But I also miss my old colleagues and patients from Vista and am always so happy to see my long-time patients who have come with me to the new office.

Where did you grow up? If you didn’t grow up in the San Diego area, what brought you to southern California?
I grew up in a small town outside of Chicago, called Yorkville, IL. As a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to go someplace very different for college – and I was thrilled to land at UCLA. After a detour to North Carolina for medical school, it was great to get back to Southern California. My husband served in the Marines and was stationed at Camp Pendleton and we both fell in love with San Diego’s North County. We knew that there was nowhere else that we would rather raise our family.

Why did you decide to become a pediatrician? What attracted you to pediatrics? Did you consider other specialties?
My interest has always been in supporting and promoting optimal health, and whenever possible preventing disease. This led me to pursue a Master of Public Health and become a registered dietitian before going to medical school. Initially, I thought I might be a family doctor so I could care for patients across the lifespan and include more of a focus on supporting healthful behaviors. However, throughout medical school all of my interests and activities were around kids and pediatrics. As second year medical students, a colleague and I started a nutrition program in which we trained teens to teach elementary school kids about healthy eating. I was so inspired by both the older and younger kids and their engagement, excitement, and potential. Then, when I did my pediatrics clinical rotation, I knew for certain that I would be a pediatrician. I loved talking with the kids, helping them and their parents navigate their care, and supporting families in helping kids thrive at every age and stage.

What do you enjoy most about working with children, parents and families?
My favorite part of being a pediatrician is having the opportunity to build a long-term relationship with my patients and their families, and helping them to optimize their nutrition, activity, development, and relationships with one another at every age and stage of development. I recognize what a privilege it is and am grateful every day to have the best job in the world.

Tell us about your family. Do you have children? What do you like to do as a family?
My husband, Bob, is a professor and the director of the legal clinics at the University of San Diego School of Law. He also leads the Veterans Legal Clinic. I’m very proud of the work that he does to help people in need obtain legal representation. We have two kids, Thomas, who is finishing third grade at La Costa Heights Elementary School in Carlsbad, and Mariella, who is a kindergartener in the dual immersion program at Capri Elementary School in Encinitas. We love to do anything active together, travel, and explore new places around San Diego.

What is some important life advice (beyond what you learned in medical school) that you can give to parents for their children?
This is simple but my best advice. Eat dinner together, at the table, without ‘screens’, as often as you possibly can. Kids who eat meals regularly with their families have better nutrition, social habits, relationships with their families, and overall behavior and functioning.

How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle? Any tips to share?
I maintain a healthy lifestyle by making it really easy to eat well and be active – by stocking the house with healthy foods, cooking at home as often as possible, and making physical activity a part of my normal schedule. I make sure to take time out for healthy adventures and relaxation. I also go to bed early. And when I get off my plan, I don’t sweat it. I just roll back into it as soon as I can.

What are your favorite pastimes/hobbies? What else do you like to do in your spare time? Do you volunteer in your community?
I love to walk (shameless plug – join me for Walk with a Doc on Tuesdays at 4pm at Stagecoach Park!). Some of my greatest ideas have come during long walks. Also, my kids and I like to explore together by foot. I love visiting farmers markets, cooking with my daughter, going to the beach, and traveling. I am also am very involved in local and national efforts to help optimize pediatric nutrition and activity through my work as a co-chair of the San Diego Childhood Obesity Initiative and volunteer work with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Physical Activity Plan.