Junkfood Science: Pediatric Grand Rounds 2006

December 30, 2006

Pediatric Grand Rounds 2006

Pediatric Grand Rounds has just been posted at Breath Spa for Kids. Perhaps in response to the general zeitgeist or because it’s the last Pediatric Grand Rounds of the year, the articles written by these medical professionals are exceptionally thoughtful, inspiring and fascinating to read. The host, Shinga, writes: “Most of us are fortunate enough to live in societies where we have fortified the banks of paediatric health against the erosive forces of disease, morbidity and mortality. We live in good housing, we have clean water, standards for air quality, good nutrition, safety standards, improvements in medical science and public health measures such as vaccination. Most of us can be confident that children will survive through to adulthood.”

Dr. Flea’s excellent series on childhood vaccinations, recommended here last week when I wrote about the most common fears and myths surrounding vaccines, is the highlighted feature and deserves a second read by medical professionals, parents and everyone working with children. As Shinga noted: “It is sobering to recall what a comparatively recent privilege it is that children survive through to adulthood.”

Also deservedly mentioned is Nobel laureate Robert Fogel’s book The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100, which chronicles the good news about our health and larger sizes, explaining that until fairly recently, most people battled a series of infections almost all the time, and that people (particularly children) expended a substantial amount of their calorie intake on fighting infection. It is a relatively recent development that we are so secure in our access to adequate calories that children can become larger and healthier. This realization may help people understand that the “childhood obesity epidemic” is not the crisis it’s being portrayed.

This is the best Pediatric Grand Rounds yet and includes sex, drugs, issues of life, death, morality; ethical dilemmas that reflect religious and cultural values, as well as the challenges posed by advances in medicine. Thank you, Shinga, for a great job and for including this blog in this memorable edition.

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