A Better Diet For Our Children
A Gift Of A Lifetime
I was headed for the little coastal village of Camden, Maine for a combined social visit and several days of manuscript rewrites with my dear old friend, Dr. Benjamin Spock and his wife Mary Morgan. The endless mountain forests were changing their colours just in time for my visit.
These changing leaves could have been a metaphor, I thought, for other great changes that would take place over the next four days in parts of one of the greatest and most influential books of the century. I was a consultant to Dr. Spock for the rewriting of the nutrition sections of his all-time best seller and classic book, Baby and Child Care, a standard for parents for the past 50 years.
For the first time ever, the most famous paediatrician in the world would make drastic changes in his advice to parents about feeding their children. He would now recommend a mostly vegetarian diet and no dairy products at all for children over the age of two. I was chosen to help in this major revision, because Dr. Spock had been impressed by - and had written the forward for - my book, Dr. Attwood's Low-Fat Prescription For Kids.
Dr. Spock was a vegetarian until age 12. This led to healthy growth - six feet, four inches - and great physical strength. Furthermore, he was a gold medallist at the 1924 Olympics, which was popularised in the movie, Chariots of Fire.
Throughout most of his long and spectacular career in medicine, politics, and human rights, he consumed a typical high-fat American diet. But this would change drastically after a mild stroke at age 88. He then resumed his vegetarian diet, and today - he turned 94 in May (1997) - he is physically active, travelling, writing, and speaking with a vigour and enthusiasm he had not experienced in many years.
Parents will be told in the upcoming new edition of Baby and Child Care that he is convinced children should eat a plant-based diet - mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes - with very little or no meat or dairy products - to avoid the leading causes of premature death later as adults: namely heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. He attributes much of these new ideas to Dr. Frank Oski, former chief of paediatrics at Johns Hopkins University and myself.
Working with this great icon to make these changes has been a great honour for me.
Charles Attwood, MD, 621, N. Ave. K. Crowley, Luisiana 70526, USA;
e-mail: Charles Attwood@compuserve.com