Starting Solids: An Exciting Reason to Be Thankful

Last Thanksgiving I announced a bold campaign, spearheaded by an amazing band of volunteers, to upgrade babies’ first foods to real foods – and babies’ first grains to whole grains – and to do this in 2011.

It’s November, and we still have a ways to go, but we also have an exciting reason to celebrate!

Over 10,000 physicians, mostly pediatricians, took part in a July/August 2011 survey by that demonstrated an historic shift in their feeding recommendations this year. The first question in the survey was “What do you recommend for baby’s first food (check all that apply)?” The options were white rice cereal, whole grain cereal, a vegetable, a fruit, egg yolk, meat, or other. Of those who answered as of August 31, the number one choice was white rice cereal – garnering nearly twice as many votes as the next most common.

But after reading an article about WhiteOut Now, our public service campaign the survey results were strikingly different.

Responding to,” What will you recommend for baby’s first food (check all that apply)” only 3% even included white rice cereal among their recommended choices. Physicians were also asked, “Do you think white rice cereal is the best choice for baby’s first food?” About 3% of those who responded had “No opinion” and an overwhelming 93% responded, “No.”

As of now over 12,000 physicians have taken part in the survey, and the change continues to spread. To me this major reversal suggests that the old white rice cereal recommendations were based on well-meaning habit rather than on science or even on careful consideration. When asked to reconsider, an overwhelming majority of physicians were quickly able to see advantages of abandoning the old recommendation.

Evidence is mounting that changing early feeding habits is critical to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic. This stunning survey suggests that first feedings are poised to change. A reason to be thankful indeed!

Published on: November 21, 2011
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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