The American Academy of Pediatrics has nonsensical advice for children
Trust in experts has taken a precipitous decline. It's a self-inflicted wound.
If you recognize the front plate, without Google, you have exquisite taste in classic television.
Before I launch into this week’s rant, a word to my fabulous Substack subscribers and friends. This time of year, when light rays are long and low, there’s several feet of snow outside and it’s colder than a well-diggers fanny, is when I sequester myself in our home studio to compose and arrange music. I get so wrapped up in this that 12 or more hours can go by without much notice. For me, arranging complex music is like doing interesting physics problems. It requires focus, attention to detail and effort. But while I’m at, it I ghost a lot of friends and acquaintances. I interact with quite a few of you on Substack, and if I have not commented on your work recently it’s just because I’m doing my winter deal - not because I’ve forgotten anyone - at least not permanently.
I will catch up. But this column is literally the only thing I’ve done besides fix meals for the family and homeschool the kids for the week, outside of the studio.
I’ll be back in the world in a few weeks. Cheers all - and thanks again for your consideration. It’s not something that I take lightly.
There is no dearth of evidence for the proposition that we are currently the most emotionally/physically frail and psychologically dysfunctional society to ever exist. If one were to invent a time machine capable of sending contemporary Americans back to the frontier days for a week or so, my guess is that not a lot of them would be around for the return trip. We are too soft for hard times.
In a way, a travel-to-hard-times device does exist. It's known as an airline flight to the third world. See how obsessions with triggers, microaggressions, safe spaces and equity play in places where triggers are attached to Kalashnikov's, macroaggressions rule, there are no safe spaces and the only equity is in misery and death.
Our chief export to the third world, as it happens, is our own dysfunction. Though we used inexpensive energy, a plethora of chemicals, industrial agriculture, polluting strategies, tough love and capitalism to build our own fabulously prosperous nation, these are forbidden for developing nations (unless they have nukes – then they get a pass). You have to love the hypocrisy, short memory and monocular vision of cultural imperialism.
But, I digress. The most important things in my life and my wife's are our kids. I think that sentiment is very common - no matter what a knucklehead like John Rosemond says. We take our kids' welfare very seriously. We insist that they eat well, exercise and get restful sleep. We insist that they behave and demonstrate good manners. We monitor their education. One may be forgiven for a variety of sins, at least in my view, but not for neglecting one's kids. That is unforgivable.
So I have been alarmed at the radicalization and woke indoctrination of what used to be one of the preeminent medical organization championing health for our kids – The American Academy of Pediatrics. A perusal of recent statements released by the AAP on children's health issues is some of the best evidence out there for the precipitous decline of trusted expertise in the last decade.
Last week, the AAP released a paper, Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Obesity. It's a doozy. I recommend that you read the clinical practice guideline (CPG), itself, rather than the summaries which have appeared on various news sites. In the AAP's defense, the CPG contains subtleties that are generally missing from most summaries. But in almost every other way, the CPG is more alarming than most of the summaries portray.
Perhaps the most disingenuous statement in the CPG is that it does not cover the prevention of obesity – something that is plainly contradicted throughout the document. Health Equity Considerations, Racism, Weight Bias and Stigma Considerations are all addressed in bold face type as topic headings. The only part of prevention that they left out were the contributions of fast food, junk food, snacks, sugary drinks and lack of exercise to childhood obesity.
The reason that these are missing is obvious from the tone of the paper. According to the AAP, establishing, for your kids health, a reasonable diet - and supplanting a lot of the time spent under the in the thrall of TV and video games with a regimen of chores, play and exercise, is considered a form of racist/ablest oppression.
What is recommended in the CPG is treating childhood obesity aggressively - something that I happen to completely agree with. But after paying lip service to the things that most of us would think of as reasonable treatments for obesity, like diet and exercise, the CPG, instead, fast-forwards to recommendations involving aggressive regimes of drugs and surgery.
This is a flat-out disgrace - and you don't need to own a white coat to see it. Drugs and surgery, albeit profitable for the folks behind this CPG (and those of their ilk) are poor substitutes for diet and exercise - for most kids. Not all, but most.
Interestingly, I don't know a single pediatrician who agrees with this (if I'm mistaken, and one of you out there happens to be pediatrician of my acquaintance who does agree with this, let's talk). Because this report was largely authored by pediatricians, they are obviously out there. But I don't take this as a majority opinion.
This CPG, unfortunate as it may be, is unsurprising. The AAP is the same professional organization that recommends the use of off-label drugs and irreversible surgeries, based on terrible data, for kids who somehow “identify” as things they can't even pronounce, much less understand. It's good for practitioners who do it though. Once you start down this road, they've got you and your insurance for your lifetime.
We essentially learned nothing from the moral panic surrounding the McMartin preschool trial and recovered/implanted memories. The only thing different this time around is that the kids now have fewer defenders in white coats to call out the life-altering madness.
Martin Hackworth - Howlin' at the Moon in ii-V-I is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I would like to be able to claim that this CPG was one of the worst papers I've read, but that wouldn't be true. It's distressingly par for the course these days. We've created an entire generation of professionals across a broad swath of disciplines who see themselves primarily as advocates for social justice, rather than doctors, clinicians, scientists, etc. I'm just glad that my auto mechanic hasn't gone there. I don't know if I could go on living were I required to address my Shelby by it's preferred pronouns.
I don't know how we are going to survive as a civilization if anything that is difficult or requires patience is written off as oppression. A subject is too hard? Fire the professor. Standardized testing gets in the way of equitable outcomes, get rid of the tests. Standards get in the way of recruitment, lower them.
And if we lack the wherewithal to insist that our kids eat a healthy diet and get sufficient exercise, give them drugs and surgery.
Associated Press and Idaho Press Club award-winning columnist Martin Hackworth of Pocatello is a physicist, writer and retired Idaho State University faculty member who now spends his time with family, riding bicycles and motorcycles, arranging and playing music. Follow him on Twitter @MartinHackworth
It's nonsense like this that leads me to believe that we are already in the midst of a major cultural shift in this country. We've seen the ruling class begin to panic as non-whites increasingly vote Republican, but I also think we're going to see a viable alternative to the legacy university system soon - just as Substack and other online ventures are providing true competition to the legacy media. This week's decision at USC to ban the use of the term "field work" to refer to off-campus research projects because it might somehow somewhere make a black student think of the ancestors toiling in Southern cotton fields is sadly par for the course. The current ruling class will not give up power without a fight, though, even though the more histrionic their arguments get, the less they resonate with their intended audience.