Author: has written 1136 posts for this blog.

Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

96 Responses

  1. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 24, 2007 at 10:34 pm |

    I’m all for formula mimicking breast milk more closely, but this seems so primed for disaster that it’s not even funny.

  2. lConservativel
    lConservativel April 24, 2007 at 10:57 pm |

    Examples of drugs which chemically affect the bodies production of hormones or alter brain chemistry which haven’t had unexpected side effects later down the line anyone?

  3. Chet
    Chet April 24, 2007 at 11:08 pm |

    For one thing, as Price points out, who’s going to offer up their infants for experimental research?

    Oh I’m sure we’ll just get poor people to test it on their babies. A fair bit of chemical testing is done that way, after all. You don’t even have wait for them to volunteer!

  4. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom April 24, 2007 at 11:15 pm |

    If it’s naturally in breast milk, then by not having it in formula you’re also experimenting on the children who receive that formula. Thing is, no matter how easy you make breastfeeding for women, there’s still gonna be women who don’t want to do it because it means letting a baby glom onto your nipples multiple times a day; damn good reason for not nursing if you ask me. Say leptin had been in formula from the get-go; we wouldn’t support taking it out, would we, just because research showed it had anti-obesity effects?
    It’s not clear to me, however, whether they’re talking about enriching formula to the same level as breastmilk, or to a higher level; if the latter, I’d certainly be worried. If the former, however, no matter that the advertising will no doubt be inane, I can’t see how making formula more like breast milk is a bad thing.

  5. Kate Harding
    Kate Harding April 24, 2007 at 11:53 pm |

    And there will be people who will break down and give this stuff to their kids, because the cost of being fat is so great in terms of social disapproval and blame and shame. They’ll put down the money and hope that the formula won’t have any weird effects, all the while hoping that this will be just the thing to keep their kids from being the objects of disgust and ridicule.

    Yep.

    I blogged about this this morning, but I didn’t even touch on that excellent point. On the one hand, I HATE that the answer to the problem of fat kids being ostracized and ridiculed is inevitably, “Well, let’s make them not fat!” instead of “Let’s teach all kids not to be jerks!” But at the same time, if I were a parent, knowing how brutal it is to be a fat member of society, I can see myself being tempted to look for the magic bullet to save my kid from that. I can only imagine how quickly someone who’s not at all fat positive might snap that up, long-term consequences be damned.

  6. exangelena
    exangelena April 24, 2007 at 11:56 pm |

    Ummmm, people do know that skinny people get diabetes too? (Although I guess as long as they aren’t FAT! especially FAT WOMEN, then it’s not unhealthy /snark)

  7. Aura Kitten
    Aura Kitten April 24, 2007 at 11:57 pm |

    First, Human babies were meant to drink breastmilk. That’s why human mothers make breastmilk. That’s probably also why it’s so exceptionally painful to *not* nurse (by way of engorgement) or forcefully wean a child before they’re ready. Nature has Her way of telling us these things.

    The idea that not wanting an infant attached to it’s mother in the most normal way possible is somehow a good reason for not feeding them the right way is so mind-boggling…. I don’t even know how to address it.

    I’ll admit I didn’t nurse my first baby, because I couldn’t, but later was able to nurse my second child. The percentage of women who truly can’t breastfeed is extraordinarily small (otherwise we humans could never have existed). The sociocultural and socioeconomic reasons for not “being able to” breastfeed are much greater, though (and are well addressed in zuzu’s post already).

    Interestingly, these same factors also contribute to obesity ~~ greater stress, less time to be connected to their family and their community, less free time in general (so no time to exercise), longer working hours….

    Anyway, to address this article directly: I would like to believe they’re not serious, but unfortunately I’m not really surprised at this.

    I’d also like to ask, Why in the hell do they think that a synthetic form of leptin added to infant formula will actually be comparable to what naturally occurs in breastmilk? But on the other hand, I don’t think I need to ask that because I suspect I already know the answer: more profits, by being able to tell parents “Our product is more like breastmilk!”

    I think preying mantis hit the nail on the head: this seems so primed for disaster that it’s not even funny. Yes. That.

    =(

  8. hipparchia
    hipparchia April 25, 2007 at 12:04 am |

    now they’re saying we might all be doomed to get fat anyway, no matter what our moms fed us.

  9. Kathy McCarty
    Kathy McCarty April 25, 2007 at 12:45 am |

    Haha well at least NOW I know why I am FAT!!!

  10. pocochina
    pocochina April 25, 2007 at 12:53 am |

    delurker here!

    what’s so crazy about this, is that even assuming it did work (and i’m totally with zuzu, it’s a terrible concept), it would just exacerbate poverty/fat issues. grown ups with money can afford healthier foods, and now their babies can have anti-fat formula!

  11. prairielily
    prairielily April 25, 2007 at 1:15 am |

    Actually, I read this article today:

    Breastfeeding won’t prevent babies becoming overweight adults: study

    There’s plenty of other good reasons to breastfeed, and obesity is far from the best one. I was just reading Health Canada’s page, and I don’t even see obesity mentioned. It’s all about preventing allergies, infections, SIDS, and aiding cognitive development.

    Tangent: I have a friend who was pregnant, and during her pregnancy, she and another friend of ours were extolling the virtues of breastfeeding, which was ok. I was not ok with the use of the words “selfish” and “lazy” to describe mothers who didn’t breastfeed, and said as much. After her son was born, she couldn’t breastfeed because the little guy was sucking too hard and it was painful. Moral of the story: don’t judge others, especially if you haven’t been there.

  12. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom April 25, 2007 at 5:55 am |

    The idea that not wanting an infant attached to it’s mother in the most normal way possible is somehow a good reason for not feeding them the right way is so mind-boggling…. I don’t even know how to address it

    Seems like a good reason to me. Nursing the older boy as an infant in the height of summer brought me the closest to infanticide I’ve ever been. Or doesn’t mental distress count as a reason not to?
    It may be that some children wean naturally at an age when I wouldn’t be thoroughly tired of the process, but after having to turf second son off the nipple I would have to think those would be less buttheaded children than mine.

  13. Kristina
    Kristina April 25, 2007 at 7:18 am |

    Ah, yes, it is a leptin deficiency that is making us all fat.

    It is most certainly not the one standard that society demands women meet to be “attractive.” It is not that there is only one size of woman that adorns every magazine, every TV show. It is not that the standard is shrinking: 0 is the new 2, 2 is the new 4. It is not the fact that society demands that women be an objet d’art first, and a thinking person second (if at all). It is not the very real fear fat women have that they will receive unlimited unwanted harassment if they lose the weight (HollaBackNYC?).

    No, no. It is a leptin deficiency.

    And now I am going to be late to class, not to mention snarling for the rest of the day.

  14. Rugosa
    Rugosa April 25, 2007 at 7:19 am |

    I was about to write that this is another attempted quick fix that doesn’t address the real causes of obesity. On thinking further, though, I wonder if a “quick fix” may be necessary, especially for people who face devastating illness such as diabetes. We’re biological entities, and we respond to a food-rich environment by, surprise, eating more food. I don’t know how to change the behavior of millions of people – I’m having a hard enough time with my own. No, I don’t support experimenting on babies, just throwing this out into the mix of ideas.

  15. werty
    werty April 25, 2007 at 7:26 am |

    Aura Kitten – You think breastfeeding was the right thing for you, and that’s fine.
    But implicitly criticising other women for not doing so? Not ok. Not wanting to breastfeed is a bloody good reason not to breastfeed, and is not something women should be made to feel ashamed about.

  16. Raging Moderate
    Raging Moderate April 25, 2007 at 7:33 am |

    Mike Cawthorne, who led the researchers, said: “The supplemented milks are simply adding back something that was originally present: breast milk contains leptin and formula feeds don’t.

    What’s wrong with trying to make formula as similar to breast milk as possible.

  17. Dianne
    Dianne April 25, 2007 at 7:55 am |

    For whatever it’s worth, leptin as an aid to weight loss in adults was an utter flop, except for a few people who were truly leptin deficient. In general, I think that making formula as close to breast milk as possible in composition is a good thing (not every woman can/wants to/should breast feed), but I wouldn’t expect miracles out of this.

  18. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 25, 2007 at 8:29 am |

    “On thinking further, though, I wonder if a “quick fix” may be necessary, especially for people who face devastating illness such as diabetes.”

    And if we ever find one, I’m sure those people are going to be beating down the door to get it. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a really good way to winnow out what’s a direct result of all the extra fat and what’s a direct result of the same things that cause the extra fat, not the fat itself. You could very easily wind up magic-bulleting away the pounds without doing a whole lot to improve the person’s overall health.

  19. Frumious B
    Frumious B April 25, 2007 at 8:31 am |

    Science keeps offering magic bullets for weight loss.

    Wuh? Science offers interventions which can be used as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Patients keep expecting magic bullets and get upset when a single intervention doesn’t cure all their problems. Actually, this is true not just for weight loss, but for every conceivable medical intervention out there.

    It’s [breastfeeding] all about preventing allergies, infections, SIDS, and aiding cognitive development.

    No. It’s about providing the IgA which babies cannot make on their own for the first months of life. None of the rest has been shown to be causally linked to breastmilk.

  20. Elley
    Elley April 25, 2007 at 8:41 am |

    If it’s really just formula that’s more similar to breast milk they should just say that, instead of claiming the babies will never get fat. It’s fast food and sedentary lifestyles that make us fat, not some random chemicals or lack of.

    As breastfeeding, I’m all for making it as easy as possible for women who can, but there are some situations where a baby can’t be breastfeed and there should be the best formula possible available for that baby. I was formula feed because I was adopted, and I plan on adopting when I decide to have children so I’ll be likely using formula for them as well. I’m really sick of formula being treated as a terrible choice over breastfeeding. Of course, it would also be nice if women breastfeeding in public weren’t looked at like freaks. It’s like mothers are terrible no matter what they choose.

  21. nausicaa
    nausicaa April 25, 2007 at 9:04 am |

    A lot of poor women can’t afford to breast feed because they have to go back to work, they don’t have the energy to be constantly pumping and storing the milk, and/or don’t have the facilities or frequent breaks at work to pump.

  22. lilaeden
    lilaeden April 25, 2007 at 9:29 am |

    I don’t know about much about breastfeeding, admittedly, but I hardly think the benefits could ever be important enough that we should be critcizing or judging women who can’t or choose not to. There is a ridiculous amount of pressure on mothers today to mother in the right way that it’s pretty disturbing. (Perfect Madness by Judith Miller (I think) was an interesting read on that subject and I recommend it.

    It’s the fat thing that bothers me the most. Obesity is bad, America is fat, ok, we get it. But I’m fat, and I’m doing perfectly fine thanks. I’m ok with it, and I have every right to be. I think health is important but I also wish we wouldn’t generalize and completely marginalize an entire group of people based on some sick desire for physical perfection.

  23. Alie
    Alie April 25, 2007 at 10:02 am |

    There’s a big difference between “fat” and “obese.” Yes, Kristina, being “fat” means being anything outside of some unhealthy, societally mandated standard, and problems with/fear of “fat people” is fucked. (I use the quotation marks to indicate that the word is kind of meaningless in today’s society when used to describe people instead of tissue).

    However, preventing obesity is a good thing. Being obese is just as unhealthy as being too skinny (not just thin, but too skinny!). The problem isn’t just that we have a problem with overly-thin standards in this country, it’s that it’s become harder and harder to find a middle ground between too thin and too fat.

    Here’s a link to a really interesting article on obesity in America is a complicated problem, as well.

    Regardless, making formula more like breast milk is a good thing. However, fake-leptin may not be the same thing as actual leptin, and I worry that someone will market this as a cure for childhood/adult obesity, without anyone but us dealing with the non-biological forces contributing to the epidemic.

  24. Holly
    Holly April 25, 2007 at 10:06 am |

    From the article about how breastfeeding has nothing to do with whether you grow up and fat:

    “It would be remarkable to find a behavior that you engage in for one year of life and see detectable effects from it 40 years later,” said Grummer-Strawn, chief of the CDC’s maternal and child nutrition branch.

    I believe this guy, not the people claiming that their formula is going to be some sort of obesity-preventer.

    I do think having the choice to not always breastfeed your infant is a good one, although there have obviously been some really horrible money-hungry practices going on around selling formula that have killed a lot of poor infants and exploited poor mothers.

    If we have to have formula (and I don’t see that ever changing, at the base of it) then yeah, formula should be as bio-identical as possible to human milk. Somehow they never quite get that bio-identical exactly right, and it’s really difficult to tell if this is a step in the right direction. Still, there should be hormones in formula. Hormones are an incredibly important part of breast milk. So the scary headline about “oh no feeding hormones to infants” is misleading in one way, but makes sense in another — it’s difficult to know whether we can trust manufactured hormones.

    As a tangent, there’s also a question about whether different women have breast milk that’s better or worse for infants, because of exposure to various kinds of substances and chemicals, etc. I have a friend who’s a vegan straightedge, tries not to put anything toxifying in her body, lives away from pollutants, etc. and there’s definitely been some joking around the idea that she would make a great wetnurse for people who want “super pure breast milk.” There’s probably a market for that… rich enviro-conscious liberals…

  25. Spatterdash
    Spatterdash April 25, 2007 at 10:24 am |

    This just sounds like a set-up for a B-movie. They may not get fat… but they can READ OUR MINDS! (Or your personal uncanny ability / horrific mutation of choice.)

    Certainly a case of thinking there’s a simple solution for something more complex. Magic milk isn’t going to solve the obesity problem.

  26. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 25, 2007 at 10:26 am |

    “Exactly. If this were just a matter of saying that they’ve found this compound in breast milk and they’re adding it to infant formula to more closely approximate breast milk, that would be one thing. But selling it as some kind of shield against fat in adulthood raises all kinds of issues.”

    How much leptin they’d be adding is also a big question. If they’re not exceeding the amount naturally found in breast milk, okay. If they’re overshooting that by a factor of five in an attempt to rewire the kid to have a decreased appetite in adulthood, the potential for that being incredibly not-okay skyrockets. And that’s assuming the additive is essentially the real-deal, with no weird side effects or allergies cropping up.

  27. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom April 25, 2007 at 10:34 am |

    This just sounds like a set-up for a B-movie. They may not get fat… but they can READ OUR MINDS!

    Thank goodness they can’t. They’d have risen up and killed me long ago.

  28. BStu
    BStu April 25, 2007 at 11:09 am |

    If we want to “prevent obesity” why not just kill anyone who gets a little chubby. That’s be 100% effective.

    Look, the insanity of this is immediately evident. They claim they are just replacing something from breast milk and this will perminantly eliminate fatness forever. Yeah, but long before formula existed, there were fat people. And if a decrease in breast feeding is “correlated” with the increase in fat people, so are about a million other things. Heck, why not blame the space shuttle. All which avoid the fact that there is a behavior that has been very strongly linked to weight gain which has been on the rise in the last 30 years.

    Dieting. You want a reason for the “epidemic” of having to ocassionaly glance at fat people? How about the fact that trying to lose weight has been shown to be an extremely reliable means of GAINING weight. All of the condemnations of fat people is just fueling a cycle of yo-yo dieting that pushes individuals’ weight up and up. There is nothing wrong about being a fat person, but everyone should have the opportunity to be accepted and loved for the body they naturally have. A lot of people would be a lot smaller if they were never stigmatized and criticized for being fat in the first place.

    The solution isn’t finding a sweet spot for when its okay to hate fat people. As long as you stigmatize people for being fat, that stigma will bleed and anyone will feel the pressure. The solution isn’t magic milk that will lead to a lifetime of never eating. The solution isn’t punative treatments which destroy and disable a healthy body for the crime of being too large. The hard truth is that there isn’t a solution because the “problem” isn’t a problem. Some people will be fat. Some people will be thin. Both are okay. Everyone can be encouraged to live active and happy lives free from disordered relationships with food. This will make everyone healthier. It just won’t make everyone thin. And that’s okay.

    As long as the existance of fat people is a problem, we will continue wasting health care funds on magic bullets which never find their mark. As long as fat is proof of a moral failing, people and especially women will be judged by their size and dimensions of their bodies. As long as we freak out about the “obesity epidemic”, fat and thin people alike will be made to feel hostile and resentful towards their bodies and will be encouraged to make dangerous decisions in the name of fitting into the standards presented to us. As long as fat hatred is a big business, corporations will still be branding their snake oil and selling it retail. Here, the snake oil is actually be proposed for people who aren’t fat or thin yet. This should frighten us. This is yet another encroachment in expanding the war on fat people to thinner and younger people. Frankly, there isn’t much else ground for them to claim after insisting infants be targeted for anti-fat products.

  29. sunflwrmoonbeam
    sunflwrmoonbeam April 25, 2007 at 12:09 pm |

    I’m absolutely disturbed by this idea. But what bothers me most is that there is SUCH a fear of being fat that people will be willing to do this. I’ve been railing all over the internet about how much the “obesity epidemic” is a load of shit.

    They determine if you’re obese based on a chart some Belgian mathematician made in the 1840′s to describe Belgian body size. The BMI chart WAS NOT!!! created to tell people how much they should weigh. And I’m convinced that the doctors picked those number range of “normal” based on fashion, and not common sense.

    I’m currently a size 10, and I’m extremely healthy. I’m also at least 15 pounds ‘overweight’. Few would say I’m fat, but according to the doctors, I am. Of course, I have about the same amount of pudge as the women in neo-classical paintings, and in all the same places. I think I’m just fine, and damn hot too. My husband is “obese”. This man is a computer nerd built like a quarterback, only he doesn’t exercise. He could stand to lose about 20 pounds or so, but he’s fine as he is. If he were to lose the 80 pounds he’d need to get down to the top end of the “normal” spectrum for his height, he’d be completely emaciated.

    We are both contributing to the statistic that the majority of Americans are fat. But we’re healthy, eat healthily, I exercise regularly, and we’re just happy with what we look like. And I don’t see why we should stress about losing weight in order to fit the strictures of some bullshit chart.

  30. Sara
    Sara April 25, 2007 at 12:23 pm |

    By all means, let’s use fear of technology to justify exposing children to the risk of obesity.

  31. Roy
    Roy April 25, 2007 at 12:35 pm |

    By all means, let’s use fear of fat people to justify exposing children to chemicals.

    Because, you know, all us computer using internet surfers are clearly Luddites, afraid of the technologies.

    That must be it.

  32. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 25, 2007 at 12:46 pm |

    Ah, I see the milk nazis have arrived.

    In any case, I’ll basically just echo what others have said. Making formula more like breastmilk is good. Marketing it as magic fat repellant is bad. Not to mention this is yet another thing mothers have too keep track of/ get to be blamed for. Am I giving my baby enough anti-fat juice!!!

    Although I do think the focus on formula vs breast has gotten downright insane. My mother fed me with homemade formula made from evaporated milk and corn syrup and I survived. Also, the idea that it has to be all of one or the other is insane. I switch my daughter between breast and bottle several times a day without any issues or “nipple confusion”.

    I recently came across an old copy of Dr. Spock, and the relaxed parenting attitude was very refreshing compared with the hypermanaged, perfect demands put on parents (especially mothers) today.

  33. Sara
    Sara April 25, 2007 at 1:23 pm |

    All I’m saying is that your headline is pretty alarmist and plays on fears of new technology. It’s not impossible that there are pharmacological solutions to the growing rates of obesity, just like so many women can rely on synthetic hormones for birth control.

  34. BStu
    BStu April 25, 2007 at 1:47 pm |

    Yeah, lets do everything we can to protect children from my life. Wouldn’t want them walking to and from a train station every day. Better protect them from hiking in the woods overlooking Boston. Must be some “technology” that would prevent them from having a healthy relationship with food while weighing 250lbs.

    Lets protect them from my girlfriend’s life, too. Protect them from her two dance classes every week. Protect them from overcoming eating disorders and learning to love a body she was taught to loathe from an early age. Protect her from being political engaged to advocate for herself and for other fat people.

    I, for one, am sick and tired of being held up in horror as a justification for all manner of wild experimentation disguised as cures and promises. Its not the technology, its the fear and what that fear is used to justify.

  35. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 25, 2007 at 2:07 pm |

    I wonder how great a risk to the child’s future health would be too much, too. I mean, obesity isn’t exactly something you can catch from someone, like measles. It’s not something that just happens to you one day, like getting hit by a car. It’s something we can usually prevent by other means, given the appropriate education and tools, and in the cases where we can’t, this is almost assuredly not going to help.

    So we have this thing that is almost guaranteed to have adverse side effects in a portion of the population–it’s just a question of how bad and how many–that we’d be giving to people who can’t consent, to prevent something they may very well never have to worry about, something that we can prevent another way without the attendant risks.

    And this product working at all is predicated on the idea that obesity occurs because of problems with appetite, rather than unhealthy food or an unhealthy relationship with food, so for it to work you still have to go out of your way to teach the child about healthy lifestyle habits and convince them not to buy into a cultural message that seems bent on casting everything in a very unhealthy light, just like you would with a child who hadn’t been treated.

  36. TinaH
    TinaH April 25, 2007 at 3:35 pm |

    I got most of my information encouraging me to nurse my kid from those whacko-out-there-milk nazis at the American Academy of Pediatricians. http://www.aap.org/healthtopics/breastfeeding.cfm

    And I just gotta imagine that the Milk Nazi Association of America is writing the AAP massive checks for endorsements like that because there’s so much money to be made off breast feeding.

  37. Rose
    Rose April 25, 2007 at 3:35 pm |

    I may have written this here before, if I did, sorry for repeating myself. When I was 29 years old I spent about 6 months where I couldn’t hold down food. I vomited about 8 – 10 times a day. I thought I was going to die. Doctors treated me like I was crazy. I found a natural healer who saved my life. I’m almost 37 now and I’m doing pretty well.

    The point of this – well, when I was sick at some point I started getting thinner, and trust me, it was a slow process because my metabolism slowed down considerably. Then the compliments started coming in:

    “You’ve lost so much weight! You look great! What did you do to lose it?”

    “I’m very sick. I can’t hold down food. I certainly wouldn’t recommend this to any one.”

    “Well, you still look GREAT!”

    And that’s when it finally dawned on me after so many years -THIS SHIT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HEALTH! If you lose weight through sickness, cancer, chain-smoking and coke – don’t matter – you’re thin. Now you look great. You look healthy. Oh, you’re sick as shit, hey what’s the problem – ’cause you look great, and what else really fucking matters right?

    Yeah, let’s experiment with babies, better they end up with cancer later on in life because hey, maybe that’ll take some weight off of them too.

  38. Lorelei
    Lorelei April 25, 2007 at 4:04 pm |

    Rose, I have a similar experience. People say to me, ‘Oh, you’re so skinny, Lorelei, how did you get like that?’

    ‘I live off of diet pepsi and cigarettes, I don’t recommend it’ (mind you I also feel sick all the time in many ways from being poorly nourished).

    ‘Either way, you look great!’

  39. Shauna
    Shauna April 25, 2007 at 4:12 pm |

    You wouldn’t think it’d be that hard for them to test their hypothesis! Just interview 1,000 random people, find out whether they were bottlefed or breastfed, and then weigh them. Hell, give me a month and *I* could do it. The fact that they haven’t done this leads me to believe that they don’t believe their own hypothesis and are just trying to capitalize on recent research into appetite.

  40. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne April 25, 2007 at 4:38 pm |

    All I’m saying is that your headline is pretty alarmist and plays on fears of new technology. It’s not impossible that there are pharmacological solutions to the growing rates of obesity, just like so many women can rely on synthetic hormones for birth control.

    Sara, please review the history of DES (diethylstilbestrol) and tell us again that we shouldn’t be concerned about giving hormones to developing children.

  41. Danyell
    Danyell April 25, 2007 at 5:00 pm |

    Thank goodness they’ve finally invented something better than nature.

  42. TinaH
    TinaH April 25, 2007 at 5:20 pm |

    This whole concept that we have to require testing of medical concepts before we can inflict them on the public is a laugh. There’s a lot in health care that’s done that’s never been tested or even proven effective. Most of the practices I know about are used in mamaging pregnancy and delivery, for example, delivering while on your back,bedrest prescribed to prevent early labor. Heck, we don’t even have scientIfic proof that gestation lasts 40 weeks. That number was *made up* by a German doc in the 1880s. I’ll find the cite if anyone wants.

  43. Steph
    Steph April 25, 2007 at 5:40 pm |

    I think what I loathe most about this is that they’re talking about adding something to formula and pretending that it will be a magic bullet for obesity later in life. There are so many other factors that this is riduculous.

  44. Antinome
    Antinome April 25, 2007 at 6:30 pm |

    To the extent that this would actually work and decrease appetite of children to a sufficient extent to have an real effect on obesity, I actually find this somewhat horrifying. (In order to actually do this I would assume they are talking abou levels of Leptin higher than in breast milk since breast milk doesnt have this effect)

    Appetite is a source of one of the great pleasures of life. Being hungry and seeking and enjoying food is as fundamental to human interaction as sex. No parent I think would have the right to rob their child of this pleasure in the name of their future supposed health.

    The same argument these doctors are making could be used for a hormone that diminishes sex drive. Sex is dangerous (disease, risk of unplanned pregnacy etc) lets inject children with hormones that mean that they dont want it and only do it for other reasons (ie procreation) Obvioulsy there are some who would probably go for it but hopefully not most.

    I dont see much difference here. Food is dangerous (bad) lets diminish children’s desire for it (they of course get no choice in the matter)

  45. Kat
    Kat April 25, 2007 at 9:03 pm |

    I just got back from the grocery store with my 4 year old. As we went through the aisles, he grabbed everything and anything that had a spiderman logo on it… and let me tell you, EVERYTHING had a dang logo on it. Sugary cereal, “juice” boxes, fruit snacks…. if it had an unreasonably high amount of sugar, there is an endorsement smacked on it.

    So my kid, who on his own is a pretty healthy eater, suddenly NEEDS fruit snacks (which are not fruit and not snacks but more like candy) and NEEDS crappy sugar cereal and NEEDS the sugar-water juice boxes. Half the time he doesn’t even know what he’s grabbing, he just NEEDS it because it has spiderman (or spongebob or whatever). Even the dang macaroni and cheese has a logo… if you buy the kind without, its 39 cents, if you buy the spiderman shaped stuff its $1.29… and my kids SWEAR the spiderman kind tastes better.

    Now I know some of you will say I should shop at a health food store but honestly even if I did that its so pervasive in our society, I doubt we could avoid all the media messages.

    My point is that you can put whatever you want into the formula, but until we just let food be food and not an advertising opportunity, our kids are going to have seriously skewed eating habits that take them farther and farther from their natural instincts to eat healthy food.

  46. Kat
    Kat April 25, 2007 at 9:20 pm |

    Oh, and I did breastfeed my two boys but I can’t imagine that giving them one or even two years of breastmilk (or of super-duper-fat-fighting-formula) is going to protect them from obesity as they wash down their spider man fruit snacks with their spider man faux-juice boxes….

    (off my soap box now, thank you)

  47. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 25, 2007 at 9:29 pm |

    Oh, and I did breastfeed my two boys but I can’t imagine that giving them one or even two years of breastmilk (or of super-duper-fat-fighting-formula) is going to protect them from obesity as they wash down their spider man fruit snacks with their spider man faux-juice boxes….

    Good point. I don’t know why it seemed to make more sense to these people to have magic fat-fighting juice in formula, which a person eats for a year or less in our society, and not in food, which someone eats for the whole rest of their lives.

    Or maybe just having healthy food, be easier to get.

    I think our culture is kind of baby-obsessed.

  48. mythago
    mythago April 25, 2007 at 10:39 pm |

    I got most of my information encouraging me to nurse my kid from those whacko-out-there-milk nazis at the American Academy of Pediatricians.

    I must have missed the AAP’s recommendation to insist that mothers who don’t nurse just aren’t trying hard enough and ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing a drop of formula to pass baby’s lips, lest their children grow up obese.

    Also not following the argument that if heath care practices include something untested, it’s silly to be concerned about a formula company testing chemicals on infants.

  49. Vanessa
    Vanessa April 25, 2007 at 11:12 pm |

    You’re all good mommies. But at times, you’re irritating as commenters.

    Zuzu hates mommies!

  50. Kat
    Kat April 25, 2007 at 11:45 pm |

    I don’t know why it seemed to make more sense to these people to have magic fat-fighting juice in formula, which a person eats for a year or less in our society, and not in food, which someone eats for the whole rest of their lives.

    I think this is because the baby industry in general (and it is a huge industry) exists because it has effectively played on a parents guilt/desire/need to do the best they can for their baby. If they don’t give them the “right” food (or clothes or developmental toy) the window will close on their opportunity to set their child up for success.

    The whole concept of early intervention, which is usually applied to at-risk babies, has been twisted by this industry to make parents of children that aren’t necessarily at risk feel like they aren’t doing enough… so they will spend more.

    Its just another way to corner the very lucrative formula market.

    Although I wonder whether we will see this additive start creeping into other big-people food too. Interesting thought.

  51. gaia
    gaia April 25, 2007 at 11:52 pm |

    By all means, let’s use fear of technology to justify exposing children to the risk of obesity.

    If that were true, wouldn’t people be insisting that everyone breastfeed? Since there’s no technology in breastfeeding?

    I do think breastfeeding can help a child to begin to learn to recognize hunger cues. Since you can’t measure how much you’re feeding the baby and since there isn’t any left in the bottle to spoil, you don’t tend to encourage the baby to end more than it wants. The baby begins to learn to eat until fullness. But this isn’t something you can stop when breastfeeding ends, you have to continue to encourage your children to recognize their hunger cues. Too many of us end up encouraging our kids to clean their plates and destroying any lessons they might have learned.

  52. exangelena
    exangelena April 26, 2007 at 1:30 am |

    Rose:
    “And that’s when it finally dawned on me after so many years -THIS SHIT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HEALTH! If you lose weight through sickness, cancer, chain-smoking and coke – don’t matter – you’re thin. Now you look great. You look healthy. Oh, you’re sick as shit, hey what’s the problem – ‘cause you look great, and what else really fucking matters right?”
    Yeah, same thing happened to me – I shed about 10-15 lbs due to stress, a change in lifestyle that involved going without food for 12 hours and an extremely screwed up metabolism. I remember one summer when I was staggering around, bloated and in pain from having eaten solid food (read: half a bagel), looking for somewhere to lie down and some soda to settle my stomach. Some guy gives me a good leer, obviously overlooking my distressed manner, and I want to eject hate rays out of my eyes – I’m thin because I have stomach pain, not because I’m trying to look hawtt.

  53. TinaH
    TinaH April 26, 2007 at 7:23 am |

    I must have missed the AAP’s recommendation to insist that mothers who don’t nurse just aren’t trying hard enough and ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing a drop of formula to pass baby’s lips, lest their children grow up obese.

    It’s right there in capital letters, under where it says that women who do breastfeed should be called milk nazis. You missed that part?

    My goodness, people, reproductive freedom is about a whole lot more than whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. It’s about whether or not to become a parent and how and why we make those choices. Aren’t we supposed to be supporting all of each others’ choices, whether or not we disagree?

    Also not following the argument that if heath care practices include something untested, it’s silly to be concerned about a formula company testing chemicals on infants.

    My sarcasm filter is probably misfunctioning, my apologies. To try and be fairly plainspoken, my argument is that formula company testing chemicals on infants is redundant. There have never been long-term studies on infant feeding to determine the safety or efficacy of the chemical formulas that are breastmilk substitutes.

    Now, before everyone flames me for criticizing moms who use formula, let me hasten to add that parents who feed their older kids (and themselves) store-bought meat products are also offering themselves up for experimentation, because no tests have been done on exposure to growth hormones or the volume of antibiotics or any of the other nonsense that pervades our food.

  54. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne April 26, 2007 at 12:52 pm |

    It’s pretty amazing that Tina sees no disconnect at all between this statement of hers:

    My goodness, people, reproductive freedom is about a whole lot more than whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. It’s about whether or not to become a parent and how and why we make those choices. Aren’t we supposed to be supporting all of each others’ choices, whether or not we disagree?

    and this one:

    Now, before everyone flames me for criticizing moms who use formula, let me hasten to add that parents who feed their older kids (and themselves) store-bought meat products are also offering themselves up for experimentation, because no tests have been done on exposure to growth hormones or the volume of antibiotics or any of the other nonsense that pervades our food.

    Which is coming across as, “I’m the only one who has made valid choices — why won’t you all admit that and do as I say?”

  55. Hawise
    Hawise April 26, 2007 at 1:55 pm |

    First they put the patented leptin in the formula, then the baby grows up and it gets put into special milk drink boxes with or without spiderman logo. Suddenly it goes into the teens instant breakfast because who has time to make some toast and follows the college age to school in a leptin spiked energy drink (mmmm, caffeine and hormones) and suddenly we are middle-aged and we start taking a leptin pill supplement or a chewy chocolaty leptin enriched caramel. Then as we get older, they put it in our Ensure (TM).

    This is not about the mommy and who could get a nipple into a kidlet’s mouth. This is about how we think about food and who can trademark or patent the most items.

  56. TinaH
    TinaH April 26, 2007 at 2:58 pm |

    What is supposed to be coming across is more along the lines that *none of us* can really make valid choices because we’re disempowered on so many levels by so many forces. So let’s stop pointing nasty fingers at each other, hey?

    Hawise said it well:

    This is not about the mommy and who could get a nipple into a kidlet’s mouth. This is about how we think about food and who can trademark or patent the most items.

    I would add “test the health and safety of” to trademark and patent.

  57. Hawise
    Hawise April 26, 2007 at 5:28 pm |

    TinaH., recent history makes adding the ‘test the health and safety of’ a dubious add on, in general the interest is to get it to market in the most saleable way before your competition. By the way, have you heard that they want to change the need to have cocoa butter as an ingredient before they can call it chocolate?

  58. TinaH
    TinaH April 26, 2007 at 6:39 pm |

    By the way, have you heard that they want to change the need to have cocoa butter as an ingredient before they can call it chocolate?

    No, I had not heard that.

    I do remember that a couple of years ago there was big hoopla that another patented hormone had been added to formulas, for eyesight, I think it was. DHA, maybe? I probably have the hormone acronym wrong.

    I think that Hawise is correct in the assertion that getting to market quickly is a driver.

  59. Gina
    Gina April 26, 2007 at 8:33 pm |

    I wonder what kills more people, HPV or obesity?
    Just a question, I noticed that many are supporting HPV vaccine to save girls lives, how many overweight girls die from health problems and commit suicide from years of public humiliation and mocking?

  60. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 26, 2007 at 9:05 pm |

    What the hell does something we have the potential to all but prevent with a shot have to do with something that we need a massive overhaul of society to make a serious dent in?

  61. Gina
    Gina April 26, 2007 at 10:23 pm |

    If I really have to describe a similarity between the two then you need a massive overhaul

  62. Gina
    Gina April 26, 2007 at 10:23 pm |

    If I really have to describe a similarity between the two then you need a massive overhaul.

  63. Alex
    Alex April 26, 2007 at 10:32 pm |

    If I really have to describe a similarity between the two then you need a massive overhaul.

    I like that. That was edgy.

  64. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 26, 2007 at 10:49 pm |

    “If I really have to describe a similarity between the two then you need a massive overhaul.”

    Do go on.

  65. Amanda
    Amanda April 26, 2007 at 10:49 pm |

    Gina, HPV doesn’t kill anyone. Cervical cancer does.
    Obesity doesn’t kill anyone. Obesity related illness does.

    Both are preventable. But, as preying mantis pointed out preventing childhood/adolescent/adult obesity would take a major societal overhaul (changes I am just to tired to list right now).

    Maybe you should try a quick Google search, here are some keywords: childhood obesity mortality and morbidity; pediatric obesity; hpv death.

    Anyway, please explain yourself, because I too fail to see your logic.

  66. Gina
    Gina April 26, 2007 at 11:22 pm |

    Gina, HPV doesn’t kill anyone. Cervical cancer does.
    Obesity doesn’t kill anyone. Obesity related illness does

    Fine then HIV does kill anyone Aids does.

    I am simply saying that if you are going to give the OK to immunize every girls against HPV, wouldn’t it follow that preventing obesity would be at least in the same realm.

  67. Amanda
    Amanda April 26, 2007 at 11:25 pm |

    Wow, you actually got it right. HIV doesn’t kill anyone. AIDS related complications do.

    Wow. Just wow.

    I am simply saying, know what you are talking about before you open your mouth. Or put fingers to the keyboard as it may be.

  68. Gina
    Gina April 26, 2007 at 11:38 pm |

    Thank you for assuming I was stupid. Anyway, What I really wanted to waste my time on was why are they so different ideologically?

  69. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne April 27, 2007 at 12:46 am |

    I am simply saying that if you are going to give the OK to immunize every girls against HPV, wouldn’t it follow that preventing obesity would be at least in the same realm.

    Wow, Gina doesn’t understand the germ theory of medicine and thinks that hormones and viruses are the same thing.

    Color me surprised.

  70. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 2:05 pm |

    Are you kidding me? I am comparing two situations where unsuspecting children are being given a preventative chemical that has little to no testing. The FDA doesn’t have a good track record for most drugs and you think one is ok and the other is totally absurd. WHY? It is a philosophical argument, not a bioligical, or femenist argument.

  71. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 2:20 pm |

    Thanks for defending the FDA. But did you forget celebrex, vioxx, etc.

    Now to my question. What is the philosophical defense of one and not the other.

  72. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 2:27 pm |

    This is what some young girls can look forward to.

    GARDASIL is given as 3 injections over 6 months and can cause pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site, fever, nausea, and dizziness.

    “Hey mom, why am I in pain with swelling, itching, redness, fever, nausea and dizziness?”

    Well dear, that it because the parents, that it me and the man of the house, decided to inject a vaccine to protect you from a sexually transmitted disease. You will thank us someday.

    No, I will thank you now. At least I am not FAT

  73. micheyd
    micheyd April 27, 2007 at 2:30 pm |

    “Hey mom, why am I in pain with swelling, itching, redness, fever, nausea and dizziness?”

    Bwahahaha! *tear* Oh man, Gina, your comedy stylings have me in stitches!

    You know those are *normal* side effects for prettymuch any vaccine, let alone any medication, right?

  74. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 2:35 pm |

    So it is ok to use the anti fat hormones then?

  75. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 2:42 pm |

    I won’t make anymore jokes if someone would please explain to me why it is a capitol offense to give hormones and the best thing since sliced bread to give HPV vaccine? ANYONE.

  76. Roy
    Roy April 27, 2007 at 2:45 pm |

    I’ll bite, Gina:

    The solution to “public humiliation and mocking” is not a vaccine. You’re treating a viral infection that can cause cancer as though it’s remotely the same as a people subjecting a girl to public humiliation and mocking.
    HPV is a virus that causes cancer.
    Public humiliation and mockery are caused by asshats.
    Big difference.

    Being “FAT” does not make someone worthy of public humliation and mocking, and the solution there would be to tell people to shut the fuck up and quit mocking and humiliating people for being different. People need to stop with the equation: Fat = Unhealthy
    Because, I’ll tell you, I’m consider “healthy” if all you look at is BMI or weight, but these “fat” women are far healthier than I am.

  77. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 3:21 pm |

    So the old sticks and stone saying. Well i have been called a troll here. When will that stop
    And to be precice, i am comparing dying from cervical cancer with dying from weight related health problems.
    who is saying fat does not equal unhealthy. of course it is unhealthy to be fat. just like it is unhealthy to have unprotected sex, and smoke and eat bacon for everymeal. Is that the real answer, telling kids to shut up, is that going to work?

  78. Roy
    Roy April 27, 2007 at 3:32 pm |

    So the old sticks and stone saying. Well i have been called a troll here. When will that stop

    Huh? Where did that come from?
    I didn’t call you a troll.

    And to be precice, i am comparing dying from cervical cancer with dying from weight related health problems.

    If you think that commiting suicide because people make fun of you for being fat is a weight related health problem, then we’ve got a pretty serious difference of opinion. I know plenty of people who were mocked for their weight, but who were perfectly healthy individuals.

    who is saying fat does not equal unhealthy. of course it is unhealthy to be fat.

    No. It’s unhealthy to be morbidly obese. Being fat isn’t necessarily any more unhealthy than being thin. Being fat is stigmatized more than being thin, or being “average”, but, again, it’s possible to be fat but be very healthy, just as it’s possible to be “average” but very unhealthy. Giving kids some kind of chemical to inhibit their hunger or alter their eating habits later in life does nothing to address what the real concerns should be- eating healthy, exercising, etc.

    Is that the real answer, telling kids to shut up, is that going to work?

    You’re conflating several different problems and acting like they’re one.

    The HPV vaccine addresses a very specific problem.
    You know, HPV.
    It doesn’t pretend to address unsafe sex practices. That’s what education is for.

    This chemical is intended to address kids who are “fat.” But there’s nothing inherently wrong with being fat.

    “Fat” is not the same as “unhealthy” anymore than “thin” is the same as “healthy.”

    Then you shifted over to talking about how kids hurt themselves because other people mock them and humiliate them for being different.

    No vaccine is going to cure that. That’s a different problem. That’s a problem with letting people be jerks.

    Homophobes target people they perceive as gay with insults and public humiliation. The solution to that is not to try to find some chemical that would prevent children from becoming gay. You don’t address the problem of assholes by changing the asshole’s target, you address the problem of assholes. People who mock and humiliate children are the problem, not the child.

    If a kid is morbidly obese, you address that child’s problem, and you work to fix it. But, just because a kid is seen as “fat’ doesn’t mean that she or he is unhealthy, and it’s wrong to act like it does.

  79. Hawise
    Hawise April 27, 2007 at 5:22 pm |

    This chemical is intended to address kids who are “fat.” But there’s nothing inherently wrong with being fat.

    Actually, by adding it into infant formula, it is intended to address the potential of fatness of children. This has nothing to do with actual fat children who are often fat due to bad eating habits easily addressed by teaching the family good eating habits or by a serious chemical imbalances that need to be addressed by pediatric specialists and not industrial additives. Added to that is the fact that few hormones or drugs are tested on children, they are tested on adults and then used by physicians in untested ways to treat ailments in children.
    Drugs, like Gardisil, are administered in regulated doses in prescribed locations by professionals whose earning potential can be put at risk by failure to comply with regulations.
    Food additives are sold in stores with pretty logos often involving cartoon characters and are ordered, shelved and checked out by people working part time to get through college.

    On the fat and thin issue, my husband has broken the spirit of Hungarian grandmothers by resolutely staying scrawny despite their best efforts, my son has the same metabolism. I eat better and exercise more than either of them and I will never be thin, just like my grandma. I am healthy. We need to stop vilifing people because of different body shapes.

  80. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 5:49 pm |

    \”Actually, by adding it into infant formula, it is intended to address the potential of fatness of children. This has nothing to do with actual fat children who are often fat due to bad eating habits easily addressed by teaching the family good eating habits\”

    So is that your solutions to fat kids? And i am talking about fat kids, not mildly overweight. I am also believe if you really want to know what I said you can easily find out what it was by looking back and reading. I simply qestioned why would someone have two such opposing views on giving \”medicine\” to unconsenting children.

  81. Kristina
    Kristina April 27, 2007 at 6:22 pm |

    Alie,

    Thanks for the link, but I didn’t read it. I have, how do you say, personal experience in the matter.

    I see this issue as another attempt to make a cheap buck off women (never seen that before!) by preying on their fears of being fat.

    As far as obese not being good for you, duh. You will be hard-pressed to find a morbidly obese person who says, “I can’t walk up a flight of stairs, but I’m healthy as a horse!”

    What angers me is these so-called solutions to the problem. Certainly don’t critically analyze the commercials we see, the products we’re sold, the fashion industry lies we’re spoonfed (Fashion- another billion dollar industry. Just like Big Pharma).

    None of these self-styled dietitians and “health experts” ever seem to bother to wonder at the motivation. None ever question the implied assumption that obese people think, “You know what? It would be really fun to weigh 400 pounds and submit myself to a lifetime of humiliation and public ostracism. Think I’ll get started on that right now.” Fat is a disease, and it is a symptom. It is the one way a person can brandish a great, giant middle finger to society and say, “SCREW YOU! I don’t believe in that crap! I exist! I take up space!” Fat expresses defiance, and provides an illusion of safety (if you are deluded by the notion that rapists are sexually attracted to their victims, as many are).

    Somehow, I don’t think leptin in the formula doesn’t look like it is going to solve that problem. But I could be wrong, of course.

  82. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne April 27, 2007 at 7:39 pm |

    I won’t make anymore jokes if someone would please explain to me why it is a capitol offense to give hormones and the best thing since sliced bread to give HPV vaccine?

    Again, you don’t seem to understand that a hormone and a vaccine are not the same thing. They are very different things that don’t act in a similar manner in even the vaguest way.

    It’s not just apples and oranges you’re comparing here — you’re saying, “Why won’t you admit that this steak and this tree are exactly the same thing?!?!”

    Really, I think you’re the stupidest troll I’ve seen online in a very long time. Let me guess — 14 years old, logging online from mommy’s basement?

  83. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 7:41 pm |

    I don’t understand a word you just said. You don’t think leptin doesn’t work. Try again.

  84. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 7:46 pm |

    zuzu, even Jill said the following.

    For one thing, as Price points out, who’s going to offer up their infants for experimental research?

    Is a 6th grader any different?

    Ever listen to TV? There is s commercial now about how as many as 70% of people taking anti-depression pills aren’t getting any relief. How can anyone condemn someone for wanting to protect ‘their’ child?

  85. Gina
    Gina April 27, 2007 at 7:52 pm |

    mnenostyne, You aren’t a stupid person. I am sure that your neo-intellectual jargon will scare off some people? I will admit and concede that they are different. My question deals with the unscrupulous act of forced inoculation or hormone supplementation?

  86. Hawise
    Hawise April 27, 2007 at 9:07 pm |

    Hormone supplementation under the care of a physician after testing to ensure that it is necessary is fine. Running down to the grocery store for some after seeing a commercial about overweight babies is not. Leptin is necessary and it is possible that some children and adults may need it supplemented due to imbalances and it is even possible that infant formula may benefit from having it added but that has not been proven to be necessary for the majority of people. Unnecessary supplements can themselves cause health problem down the line especially in the liver and kidneys.
    No one is forcing anyone to get inoculations, they are considering adding Gardisil to the list of advised and funded inoculations offered to parents for their children. Guess you don’t want it for your children, but I would definitely consider it for my son once they do some more conclusive testing. Most places have opt-out programs for people on religious or health grounds, I may think vaccination saves me alot of time, trouble and puking but you might not.

    Back to the subject, sold in store supplements are not as rigorously followed as doctor prescribed, so high leptin infant formula would likely be doctor prescribed, at least initially- this means out of the reach of most families unless it is supported by state-funded programs. I don’t see this happening anytime soon and any firm results will take 15+ years to be seen, longer for it to show any positive result in a large population.

Comments are closed.