A Compromised Generation: The Epidemic of Chronic Illness in America’s Children
By Beth Lambert with Victoria Kobliner
Sentient Publications, 2010
Teachers who have been around a few decades have noticed changes in their students. Allergies to dust, pollen and food have all gone way up. From 1980 to 2006, rates of childhood asthma tripled. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) shows that over half the U.S. population is prone to some degree of hay fever. Behavioral problems have also increased, autism and ADHD in particular. This book looks at the root causes.
Early on the familiar name of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride comes up. Lambert has done her homework and has drawn on information from a wide range of sources. What she says is generally consistent with the findings of Campbell- McBride, concurring that the root cause of autism and its related spectrum of disorders won’t be found in the head, but in the gut. The balance of bacteria is the key—too many bad guys, not enough good guys. The possible causes include acquiring an imbalance from the mother at birth, sugary junk food, chemicals in the diet, and medications, especially antibiotics.
Babies acquire bacteria from the birth canal during birth. Statistics indicate that babies born by C-section have a greater risk of health problems due to poor balance of bacteria. If the mother does not have a healthy bacterial balance, however, then children delivered vaginally may still develop the same health problems. Further bacterial reinforcements come from breastfeeding. One hopes that it is fairly obvious to most people why indiscriminate use of antibiotics will destroy the healthy balance of bacteria. Sugar and chemicals in food (MSG, carrageenan) tend to promote the kind of bacteria you don’t want. Lambert goes into some detail with dietary recommendations and most of it is good.
Once a rare disorder, autism now affects one in a hundred American children. Lambert does the smart thing and looks at how our diet has changed in the last century or two. Besides the obvious rise in modern processed foods, today we don’t eat as much cultured food like real yogurt (not the pretend stuff in most groceries) or fermented vegetables. She notes that fruits and vegetables were never a big part of the American diet but elsewhere says it is important to get lots of fruits and vegetables.
If you want to start an argument (or possibly a brawl) in a crowded room, bring up the subject of vaccine safety. Beth Lambert understands that and spends many pages on the subject anyway, which is good. She agrees with other experts we have reviewed in these pages that vaccines are not the root cause of autism. There are unvaccinated children with autism. That said, there is nevertheless a clear correlation between vaccines and autism. Generation Rescue sponsored an epidemiological study of over seventeen thousand children. The health of vaccinated and unvaccinated children was compared and no one needs a PhD in math to understand the difference between the two groups. Vaccinated boys in particular were much more likely to suffer from ADHD, asthma, autism or some neurological disorder.
The book’s section on nutritional advice was written by Victoria Kobliner who stays on my good side by recognizing the value of cod liver oil and coconut oil. She is also not as fat-phobic as the victims of public education and the mainstream media. Then we are reminded of the track record of mainstream medicine when it is confronted with a cure. It took about twenty years to convince them that there was a link between ulcers and H. pylori bacteria. They were at least as slow to get the link between pellagra and niacin deficiency or cancer and smoking. I hope it won’t take anyone twenty years to see that my thumb is UP for this book.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2011.