Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World by Dr. B. Brett Finlay
In LET THEM EAT DIRT, the two authors, who are scholars in this field, suggest that it’s time to ease up on our obsession with killing off microbes. Of course, they admit, many infectious diseases have been reduced with the advent of microbe-killing medicines. Now, however, research suggests we have gone too far. There has been an “explosion in the prevalence of chronic non-infectious diseases and disorders in developed countries."
The authors point out that recent research confirms that many microbes are harmless--or even beneficial. By indiscriminate “carpet bombing” of microbes en masse, we are doing more harm than good.
The most interesting chapter, in my opinion, is Chapter 13, “Asthma and Allergies: Microbes Keep Us Breathing Easier.” The doctors cite a fascinating statistics: Asthma occurs FAR less in families raised on farms. This suggests that children are somehow benefiting from all the exposure to animals and dirt: “People who grow up on farms have a much lower risk of developing asthma than anyone else in Western societies.” But it gets even more interesting: The Amish people are even less likely to get asthma! In fact, they have the lowest incidence of asthma in the entire Western world!
I found the section about farms and asthma an amazing finding, which seems to me to support the authors’ ideas. I had no idea the Amish were such popular people for such research studies!
Many other diseases and ailments are discussed, as well as suggestions for healthy diet during pregnancy, and in your child’s early years. For example, “DO keep sugary foods to a minimum, especially juice. A baby with a sweet tooth will likely become a toddler with a sweet tooth.”
The authors also include a detailed discussion about the obesity epidemic. They suggest that increasing use of antibiotics is beginning to be flagged as leading to obesity in some studies.
So all in all, I found LET THEM EAT DIRT to be a well-written, interesting book, with practical applications. At the end of each chapter are sets of “Do’s and Don’ts” which provide helpful, practical suggestions. I thought these suggestions were reasonable and sensible. It doesn’t appear that LET THEM EAT DIRT offers any new earth-shattering revelations in the book, but I found the discussions useful nonetheless. It seems to me to be a decent summary of the most relevant scientific findings. The authors admit that much research still needs to be done in this field.
Advance Review Copy courtesy of LibraryThing