By: Dr. Cara Natterson, M.D.
Today’s parents over-think, over-manage and over-worry. It’s our helicoptering reputation and, frankly, it’s well deserved. Is it possible to cut through all the local and global anxiety and stop worrying about every single detail of life?
As a pediatrician (and as a mom of young kids), I have focused my career on simplifying the science and dissecting the hype. What really is safe for kids and what’s not? Here are three things you may have heard are bad for kids… The reality may surprise you.
Ah, milk. Does it really do a body good? Milk’s opponents say it’s the cause of a long list of ailments (allergy, constipation, congestion, acne, etc.) and, if that’s not bad enough, that it’s filled with hormones and chemicals from the farm.
The reality is that—other than water—milk is the only drink recommended by most pediatricians. It’s full of protein, calcium, and an array of vitamins and minerals including vitamin D and iron. Studies show that milk drinkers tend to be leaner than their juice- and soda-drinking counterparts. My kids drink it every day (usually twice), and in an effort to maintain my own bone density, I do too. The one thing to watch out for is the hormone RBGH (also known as RBST). Make sure to buy milk with “no RBGH” on the label. This isn’t hard to do: Most major food chains and even Starbucks only provide RBGH-free milk.
Antiperspirant and deodorant
By now, pretty much everyone has seen the email linking antiperspirant to breast cancer. This urban myth has been around for so long that it has essentially become urban fact. Time to file it back into the “myth” category. Many antiperspirants contain aluminum, and this heavy metal is often blamed for causing cancers, but there is no science backing up the claim. While aluminum has been found in the tumors removed from women’s breasts, this does not mean that the aluminum caused the tumors. Interestingly, though, there may be a link between heavy metals and hormones, and an even stronger one between the preservatives used in many deodorants—called parabens— and hormones.