Sunday, June 24, 2012

Children Are Not Little Adults

By James J. Gormley

One of my back-to-school memories in the late-1960s and early 1970s was going to the five-and-dime with my mother and choosing brand-new marble “composition pads” and #2 pencils. 
A 1970s-era ad ... the thinking has changed since then.
Although I preferred Jules Verne to geometry --- and really “digged” my summer vacations --- I was still psyched at the beginning of each new school year. I think it had something to do with the seemingly infinite possibilities for learning and success, fun and friendship. A clean slate (or blackboard).
Today, not every child has it as seemingly worry-free as that, unfortunately. In 2007, 5.4 million American children aged four to 17 were reported to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and, of these, over half of that number were being medicated for this disorder. In addition to that, autism afflicts more than 2 million people, the incidence of which increased 172 percent in the 1990s.
Artificial additives are linked to ADHD and, in addition, one of many contributing factors to this developmental disability is believed to be mercury exposure, including the historical use of thimerosal in vaccines.
According to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., in a 2005 Rolling Stone article, “The FDA continues to allow manufacturers to include thimerosal in scores of over-the-counter medications as well as steroids and injected collagen.” In 2012, thimerosal is still being used in vaccines.
Kennedy added: “If, as the evidence suggests, our public-health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children [with thimerosal], their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine.”
And as if things were not challenging enough for children without even considering exposure to toxins, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics noted that the percentage of overweight children aged six to 17 years between 1976-1980 and 2003-2004 has gone from 5.7 to nearly 17 percent; in addition, 2 million adolescents (or 1 in 6 overweight adolescents) aged 12 to 19 have pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
There are, however, some indications of improvement in the lives of American kids. The percentage of children living in households classified as “food insecure” has gone down and educational attainment in high school is improving, noted the Forum.
One thing much better today for kids is the variety of dietary supplement options, from multivitamins to immune-boosters to omega-3s and more. Not only is the selection better in health-food stores but so is the manufacturers’ focus on including natural-source ingredients and excluding what I would have called “yucky” but my kids would probably call “nasty” artificial colors, flavors, binders, excipients and preservatives.
As customers visit retailers looking for healthy snacks, yogurt smoothies and kids’ vitamins, retailers can serve as an island refuge in a sometimes scary ocean of supermarkets and mass market behemoths.
Armed with good information, high-quality products and trustworthy guidance, you can help your end-user customers genuinely help their children.
In the meantime, the kids can get back to perhaps avoiding geometry and reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, er … or would that be The Hunger Games?
Note: The title for this piece came from an ad I found (manufacturer name and ad copy cropped out) from July 23rd, 1978, subtitled: “Because Children Are Little Adults.” Of course, kids have different metabolisms and nutritional needs over and above the fact that they may be 25 to 50% less heavy than an adult, but this was the thinking in the late-1970s!

Courtesy of the SupplySide Community

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