Monday, October 13, 2008

Could I Have Some Unbiased Advice Please?

I am starting to lose whatever faith I might have once had in the American Academy of Pediatrics. I think it’s really sad that the “preeminent” organization of pediatricians cannot be relied upon for unbiased advice on how to care for our children.

I came across this article today on CNN. As I read through, my thoughts were very skeptical. A sudden need to double the amount of daily vitamin D intake? Millions of kids needing to purchase supplements? What about spending more time playing outside? It seemed kind of ridiculous to me.

Then I got to the last paragraph, which reads, “Several members of an academy committee that helped write the guidelines have current or former ties to makers of infant formula or vitamin supplements.”

I looked on the New York Times, which has the same article, but without the informative disclaimer at the bottom. The fact that people who set the guidelines and the standards for our children’s health and nutrition have sold themselves to corporations, at the cost of parents’ pocketbooks and the health of children makes me very, very sad.

From what I understand from the current recommendations – you must buy sunscreen and that means you also have to buy vitamin D. Also, you must buy either formula or vitamin D.
On wikipedia, I read that the lack of vitamin D isn’t “a defect in the evolution of human breastmilk but is instead a result of the modern-day infant's decreased exposure to sunlight.” I also read that “a sufficient amount of ultraviolet in sunlight each day and adequate supplies of calcium and phosphorus in the diet can prevent rickets. Darker-skinned babies need to be exposed longer to the ultraviolet rays.”

Why isn’t anyone talking about the easiest and cheapest solutions – spending more time outdoors and using sunscreen only in very bright weather, making safe places to play outside, constructing sidewalks and bike paths so that people aren't tied to cars, eating foods that contain calcium and phosphorus as part of a healthy diet? Because these solutions wouldn’t make money for the baby industry, which unfortunately seems to be the AAP’s priority.

I wish I did have a source of professionals who could provide good advice in the interest of parents and children. But since I don’t, I’ll have to go on being an independent researcher so that I can make decisions in the interest of my son and not corporations. We’ll continue to take daily walks (15-30 minutes a day is enough Vitamin D exposure), we’ll eat milk products and fish, but I won’t purchase another bottle of vitamin D supplements.

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