Michael Shannon, 12/1/2015 [Archive]

Over $1 Million to Figure Out Why Babies Won't Eat?

By Michael Shannon

I do not like food with a sneeze.

I do not like licks on my cheese.

I do not like already chewed.

I do not like tests on my food.

I would not eat them for a guest.

I would not eat them in a test.

I would not eat them by the gram.

I would not eat them Uncle Sam!

(With apologies and thanks to Dr. Seuss)


This is another instance of crafty people getting paid to do what wives have been doing for free for centuries - learning by trial—and—error what babies will and will not eat. The Washington Free Beacon's eagle—eyed reporter Elizabeth Harrington has found another expensive federal study that means to improve on centuries of practical experience.

This time "The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent nearly $1.5 million studying how infants think about food." The University of Chicago — the same institution that brought us the atomic bomb — has now focused it's considerable brainpower on a smaller project called "Infants' and Children's Reasoning About Foods (sic)."

As part of the preliminary results, these intrepid researchers have announced young children don't like to eat foot that has been licked or sneezed on, unless done by a dog. No doubt the next release of data will assure mothers it is a toss—up between whether an infant prefers to eat or throw his food.

The grant application for this project, like many of its kind, makes for unintentionally hilarious reading: "Evidence suggests that infants' and children's earliest patterns of eating have lasting consequences for health across the lifespan." This is what happens when childless grad students and nanny—wielding professors collaborate.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The highchair years are the one time in your life you'll eat pureed rutabaga and it's all thanks to dear old mom. When my son was an infant we conducted an experiment and fed him picadillo, a Caribbean dish with complex spices. He loved it. Now, at age 20, Karl wouldn't touch picadillo while wearing a haz—mat suit.

The same goes for more benign food like bananas and raisins.

Karl may have been the world's youngest food bigot. For years if food wasn't white and bland, he wouldn't eat it. And since he was such a suspicious child, we couldn't cover colored food with white gravy to sneak it past the palate police. Karl always took the time to dig under the sauce.

The grant goes on to pontificate: "Despite the complexity and significance of food selection, developmental psychologists have devoted surprisingly little attention to studying how infants and children perceive, learn, and reason about foods (sic)."

Of course it could be no one wasted time and money studying how "children perceive, learn, and reason" about food because kids were growing up just fine without Uncle Nanny's help and they couldn't find a sucker foolish enough to fund it, until NIH came along.

In fact, if I remember correctly, the childhood obesity epidemic began just a few years after the federal government decided we needed to be told what to eat. Before then we successfully maintained our weight with a combination of cigarettes and booze.

"Scientists" contend infants have "limited knowledge in the food domain." True, but I can assure you they know what they like. What they don't like is easy to identify because it winds up on the wall.

According to Harrington the project began in 2012 and will continue until 2017 when any children the researchers have will be old enough to know they're being exploited. Taxpayers have been dunned $1,486,521 for this close examination of common knowledge.

It's easy to be complacent about this relatively small, in federal terms, amount of waste, but that's a mistake. This study is another building block in the foundation of the all—pervasive Nanny State. The fact these studies are methodologically useless won't matter.

Other government bureaucrats in agencies that are hotbeds of regulatory activism — USDA comes to mind — will use the study as part of our betters' program to exert government control from crib to crypt.

And we're helping them do it by not objecting to pointless, federally—funded studies that research the obvious.

——

©Copyright 2015 Michael Shannon, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of "A Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times." He can be reached at mandate.mmpr@gmail.com.

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