Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's the Wimmen's Fault. As Usual.

Another health article tells us that mothers are responsible for their children's future health, from uterus onwards. Not only that, but ALL women are responsible for ALL future children's health. Yup:

Communities also can help, Gluckman says. By helping women such as Williams get good prenatal care and nutrition, for example, communities can reduce the number of fetuses who are malnourished and born small, Gluckman says. Babies who are born at normal weight are more likely to maintain that healthy weight.

Because half of pregnancies are unplanned, women need to learn about nutrition — and maintain healthy diets — long before they conceive, Gluckman says.

"We have got to give far greater focus to mothers, the women who are likely to become mothers and to the care of newborn children than we have in the past," Gluckman says.

Emphasis mine.

There's a logical fallacy in that argument about unplanned pregnancies. IF half of pregnancies are unplanned, this does NOT mean that all women have the same 0.5 probability of having an unplanned pregnancy. It does NOT mean that we should therefore treat each woman as if she might be that likely to become pregnant without planning. It's like assuming that if 20% of people don't wear seatbelts, say, then we are going to just go with the assumption that EVERY PERSON ALWAYS leaves the belt off on one drive out of five.

Do you see what is wrong with that? The frequency of this argument, when applied to women, tells me what the powers-that-be think about women in general. We are baby aquaria and we must keep our water clean because a fish just might slip in. And bad aquaria kill fish.

I'm not sure why I have to add that of course learning about good diet is important for women. It is important for men, too. Whether the quality of sperm varies with the man's diet is probably not something that people bother to study, much. Procreation is just assumed to be what women are for. That's what I'm fighting against here. Women. Are. People, Too. Sigh. And now I'm gonna get comments telling me how I don't care about the Unborn, probably. As if caring about women's humanity rules that out.

In general, the article is full of speculation and some odd logical arguments. Take this one:

A pregnant woman's diet tells a fetus a lot about its future environment, including how much food will be available after birth, Jones says.

A baby conceived during a famine, for example, might learn to be "thrifty," hoarding every calorie and packing on fat rather than muscle, even at the expense of developing vital organs, such as the kidneys, liver and brain. Because of a lack of calories, the baby also may be born small.

In a famine, those early adjustments and predictions about the future could mean the difference between survival and starvation, Jones says.

But babies may run into trouble if the world doesn't match their predictions, Jones says.

A baby who has learned to hoard calories, for example, may grow up to be fat or diabetic once he or she finally gets enough to eat, Jones says. Doctors believe this occurs not just with babies whose mothers are starving, but with those who are malnourished because of a mother's medical problems, poor nutrition or exposure to tobacco smoke, which damages the placenta.

It's well known, Taylor says, that women who smoke are more likely to have low-birth-weight babies, who are in some ways "starved" for nutrients in the womb. Babies born too small are at risk for many immediate problems, such as underdeveloped lungs and bleeding in the brain.

If they survive, these youngsters also face long-term risks.

Studies show that small babies who gain weight rapidly in infancy or childhood — a sign that bodies are already making the most of every calorie — also have higher rates of adult heart disease and diabetes, Jones says.

Specialized X-rays have shown babies of young mothers with poor diets in India, for example, are born with extra belly fat, even though they seem to be a normal weight. Once these babies start getting an adequate diet, they are likely to put on weight, Gluckman says.

That Indian bit is interesting for the following reason: A baby who can survive famine and inadequate diet may, in fact, be well suited for the environmental conditions of much of that country where poverty still exists among the majority of the population. A baby who 'expects' food to be plentiful might be more likely to die in early childhood. I'm not certain why Gluckman (the expert with the silliest comments in this article) thinks that he can do better than nature in this context.