The Evolution of Childcare (& Washington, D.C.)

Our family took a road-trip to Washington D.C. this summer. After looking at the photos, I realized the subtitle of our stay could have been: how I carried my toddler son everywhere… in humid, 95 degree weather.

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Inequality, Evolution & Obesity

A recent study on child obesity by researchers at Harvard has received a good deal of media attention lately. In the NY Times, a synopsis of the study was one of the most emailed articles in the country (“Baby Fat May Not Be So Cute After All,” March 22). The key sentence from that article:

“More and more evidence points to pivotal events very early in life — during the toddler years, infancy and even before birth, in the womb — that can set young children on an obesity trajectory that is hard to alter by the time they’re in kindergarten.”


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Shrinking babies

Harvard researchers are reporting in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology that the average birth weight in the U.S. has actually dropped over the past 15 years. The study looked at more than 36 million full-term births between 1990 and 2005. After controlling for confounding variables, it was found that birth weight had decreased by 52 grams. This trend ran counter to that found previously, which was that birth weights had been steadily increasing over the last century. A secondary analysis suggested that the drop was not due to a change in maternal demographics, as the trend was also found in a subset of white, well-educated non-smoking women as well.

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