Our children are intimately connected to our environment: all health is environmental health. Healthy land, air, and water can produce healthy food and healthy, active children. We’ve made a lot of progress in children’s health in the last fifty years. But think about some of the health problems that have been worsening in our children during that same time: asthma, ADHD, autism, diabetes, hypertension, allergies, hypospadius, testicular dysgenesis, obesity, and a number of childhood cancers, for example. They haven’t been getting worse so quickly because of our genetics. They haven’t gotten worse because our medical technology has deteriorated. Each worsening problem can be linked to unhealthy interactions with unhealthy food, water, air, land, or with the chemicals with which we have been polluting them.
Advertising targeted to children has also become a major force in our children’s environment. In this environmental module we explore some of these connections. Consider what steps we might take in our own homes, schools, and playgrounds. How might we choose food and water for our children? But also think about what public decisions might improve the world for our kids; we are their voices in the political process. We are making choices with their inheritance.
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As a father and pediatrician, I’ve changed many diapers — enough to teach me that diapers are a daily reminder that as humans we deplete resources as we consume, and we make messes with ou ...
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