The February 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics has an article in it that I found to be practically earth-shaking. The journal’s editors and the article’s author, Alison Schonwald, MD, FAAP, review a very recent British study that looked for possible links between hyperactivity and food preservatives and/or artificial colorings. And the short answer is-they found it.
This study, which is described by the AAP editors as “a carefully conducted study in which the investigators went to great lengths to eliminate bias and to rigorously measure outcomes” concludes that there is a connection between hyperactive behavior and food preservatives (particularly sodium benzoate) and artificial food colorings.
Just to repeat myself a third time-this reliable, peer-reviewed, double-blind etc etc etc study found a connection between some of the foods that our kids eat (the junky, chemical-laden ones) and hyperactive behaviors. Wow.
Of course, this isn’t news to some. Parents have anecdotally found this link themselves over the years. It’s just that this is the long-awaited “scientific study” that ‘proves’ it.
Another interesting note in the AAP article-they state that they were skeptical in the past and now acknowledge that they were wrong.
Did you feel that tremor? ;^)
If you’d like to read the AAP article, or the full text of the original British study, they can be found here: http://www.feingold.org/aap.html
Please note that I have no connection with this website nor the association behind it. (But I do think their ideas are very interesting!)
Update: Here is a link to another article describing a food-ADHD connection.
Update #2: Here are the food colorings that were connected:
• Tartrazine (E102): Yellow food coloring
• Quinoline yellow (E104): Yellow Food coloring
• Sunset yellow (E110): Orange yellow coloring
• Carmoisine (E122): Red food coloring
• Ponceau 4R (E124): Red food coloring
• Allura red (E129): Red food coloring
• Sodium benzoate (E211): Artificial preservative
“What should I do about those Bratz dolls?”
As a parenting
coach, I hear this question from time to time. Many parents find them
offensive–whether due to their clothing, makeup, or accessories like
the party bus with a hot tub and martini glasses. It’s not just parents
that worry, either: the Bratz dolls were specifically named in a report
by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the
Sexualization of Girls, who stated that it was “worrisome when dolls
designed specifically for 4 to 8 years olds are associated with an
objectified adult sexuality.”
So, what’s a
parent to do? Refuse to buy them? Outlaw them at home? But what about
when she goes to a friend’s house? And she wants them for her birthday!
Here are some suggestions.
Keep these thoughtz in mind:
- Remind yourself
that you only get to wage a certain number of battles in your parenting
lifetime–so it’s smart to pick and choose them. Temper your response
- As offensive as
you may find them to be, playing with Bratz doesn’t automatically do
harm. Really! It’s not on the scale of, say, eating lead paint. Rather,
their effect is on your daughter’s mind, her assumptions, her beliefs
and values. And that effect, thank goodness, can be mitigated by an involved parent.
- This is a teachable moment. Consider this an engraved invitation to talk to your daughter about at least one important belief, family value, or social construct.
Actionz to take:
- Ask your
daughter questions. What does she think of their clothes/makeup? How
old does she think the dolls are? (Most kids say pre-teen or teen.)
Does she know anyone that age who looks like that? If she saw a
real-life person dressed in a short mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and a
feather boa, what would she think of them? Does she think a real girl
her age should dress like that? Why/why not?
- Share your
concerns. Calmly discuss your top 2 or 3 complaints with your daughter.
Very important note: remember to present your opinions in gentle terms.
If she identifies with the dolls, and you are overly critical of
them–she may well experience your criticism as personal. It might be
helpful to be prepared to throw in something positive about the dolls.
- Compare and
contrast how the dolls spend their time with how real pre-teens/teens
spend their time. The Bratz motto is “Passion for Fashion”… ask your
daughter about what she really feels passionate about. (also: where are the adults? Who bought that party bus?)
thought–this is an opportunity to role-model that it’s possible for
parent and child to disagree, to discuss calmly and to still love each
other afterwards. You’re planting seeds of many varieties right
now–most importantly: (a) we can still discuss when we don’t agree, and
(b) it’s good to think critically about the messages/values we
encounter in our lives. Truly, those life lessons are some of the most
important and healthy ones we can teach our children. Let me know how