Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Care and Feeding of Children

Reading today's NYTimes and ran across this article on Food additives and Hyperactivity with a wonderful quote:

“Even if [the study] shows some increase in hyperactivity, is it clinically significant and does it impact the child’s life?” said Dr. Thomas Spencer, a specialist in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Is it powerful enough that you want to ostracize your kid? It is very socially impacting if children can’t eat the things that their friends do.”(emphasis mine)
I'm rather astounded by the concept propounded here that a child's diet is related to a child's popularity or perceptions of social worth.

I remember as a child not being allowed to eat sugar at choir receptions and being miserable because of it, but I still ran around with my friends and played with them at those events without social rejection. And more recently, I've seen articles (again, hearsay evidence, but I'm not sure how the dear Doctor's is any better!) where parents send their children to school with yummy, gourmet leftovers and find their children are envied because their diet is not the one-size-fits-all American lunch parade.

More importantly, though, the suggestion that one cannot instill healthy eating habits because of social pressure just seems ludicrous!! As does the idea that the one cannot replace bad foods with better ones and explain the choices to children who will understand and feel empowered by the decision to take control of one's future health by changing the diet. Who knew: diet as an antidote to social dependency?

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