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Good column in the Wall Street Journal by author Bee Wilson that makes a couple of important points about the responsibility we all have for feeding our children. It suggests that a) kids’ diets are deteriorating on a global basis, and b) we can’t just assume that moms will get it done all by themselves.

Regarding the first point:

“Where children around the world used to eat varied diets based on their own local cuisine—from bean stews in Brazil to the potage bonne femme of France—now their diets are converging on a single palate of sweet-salty-fatty packaged foods. You wouldn’t expect a child in Portugal and a child in China to consume the same after-school snack. But a study conducted from 2011 to 2013, based on interviews with more than 7,000 9- to 11-year-olds in 12 countries, found that similar patterns of eating are emerging across the world. Children now tend to consume near-identical packaged cookies and cereal bars, branded snacks, candies and crackers. The worst of it is that many of these unwholesome and sugary packaged goods are cynically marketed as ‘healthy,’ kid-friendly or pediatrician-approved.”

And the second:

“A mother’s cooking is a wonderful and powerful thing, but it doesn’t have to be done by mothers alone. In most societies, whether human or animal, the act of feeding has been something collective and collaborative rather than individual. You know that mother bird ferrying nutritious worms to the nest? She has back-up. I discovered recently that when a nest of robin eggs hatches, the father robin as well as the mother takes on the job of feeding. Like her, he flies off to fetch worms, dropping them tenderly into the open beaks. The father and mother bird work together to guard the nest as their vulnerable offspring eat.

“We often assume that the act of feeding a child comes naturally to a mother, thanks to some kind of innate feminine talent, but this isn’t so. Among primates such as monkeys, infants are often fed and groomed by females who are not their mothers, in order to teach mothers how to do a better job. Feeding, as much as eating, is a skill, with which most of us could use a little help.”

You can read the entire story here.
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