Like the culture-changing Last Child in the Woods , here is the first parenting book to apply the latest cutting-edge scientific research about the human microbiome to the way we raise our children. Read more...
Like the culture-changing Last Child in the Woods, here is the first parenting book to apply the latest cutting-edge scientific research about the human microbiome to the way we raise our children.
In the two hundred years since we discovered that microbes cause infectious diseases, we've battled to keep them at bay. But a recent explosion of scientific knowledge has led to undeniable evidence that early exposure to these organisms is beneficial to a child's well-being. Our modern lifestyle, with its emphasis on hyper-cleanliness, is taking a toll on children's lifelong health.
In this engaging and important book, microbiologists Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta explain how the trillions of microbes that live in and on our bodies influence childhood development; why an imbalance of those microbes can lead to obesity, diabetes, and asthma, among other chronic conditions; and what parents can do--from conception on--to positively affect their own behaviors and those of their children. They describe how natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and solid foods influence children's microbiota. They also offer practical advice on matters such as whether to sterilize food implements for babies, the use of antibiotics, the safety of vaccines, and why having pets is a good idea.
Forward-thinking and revelatory, Let Them Eat Dirt is an essential book in helping us to nurture stronger, more resilient, happy, and healthy kids.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Microbiologists Finlay and Arrieta explain, in illuminating detail, the importance of the gut microbiome and, in particular, how supporting its diversity before birth and in the first months of life can benefit the immune system, allergy avoidance, and lifelong health. They urge reduction of the routine use of antibiotics and discourage use of antimicrobial soaps and sterilizers for baby bottles. They also affirm the value of bacteria-laden breast milk, supplementing formula with probiotics, being licked by puppies, and playing outside. Through these and other measures, they hope to restore the powerful benefits of microbe transfer from the environment to the young child, benefits lost as a side effect of efforts to reduce infectious disease risk and of cultural attitudes that conflate dirt with disease. Finlay and Arrieta’s strong pro-vaccine stance and willingness to admit that some claims are not yet fully established place them firmly in the medical mainstream. The focus on practical choices before and during birth makes this book a good resource for expectant parents; the information here is actually most useful well before the dirt-eating toddler stage. Agent: John Pearce and Chris Casuccio, Westwood Creative Artists. (Sept.)