Junkfood Science: A fresh perspective for parents: good news

January 15, 2007

A fresh perspective for parents: good news

Shinga at Breath Spa for Kids just made a wonderful post discussing the significant advances in medicine and public health and how they’ve improved the health of our children and enabled them to live longer lives than ever before. Without understanding the realities of illness and death among children throughout human history and in many parts of the world, our perceptions of risks and sickness in our children today are distorted, she explains. The facts are overwhelmingly positive about our children, but that’s not what we hear and it’s contributed to an epidemic of over-anxious parents.

Paediatric outcomes in the UK have changed beyond recognition, thanks to public health measures, adequate nutrition and immunisation, amongst other contributory factors. The London Bills of Mortality up to 1830 had documented a significant improvement in death-rates for the under-fives: from 1730-79 66.2 percent of the children died....According to a report into Twentieth Century Mortality Trends In England and Wales by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in 1901, approximately 25% of all mortality was from infants who died before their first birthday: deaths in male children up until the age of 14 accounted for more than 40% of all deaths. By 2000, these combined mortalities were less than 1%.

Children today are not only dying in much fewer numbers and much more likely to survive their childhood, they are not getting sick or injured as much, either.

The steep decline in mortality levels is also associated with a decline in childhood morbidity: children are not developing the illnesses that used to occur as epidemics. Children are less-frequently injured by preventable or treatable diseases that sometimes left them with significant chronic illnesses.

I think of these figures whenever I hear somebody argue that modern life is toxic and that it leaves people teetering on the edge of a physical breakdown. I think about them whenever I hear discussion that current generations are less healthy than our ancestors.....

The full essay can be read here. She also shares the sweetest pictures of kids, such as this one.

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