Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 29th 2013 Contents A27
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Twelve years after I started
writing a column in the
Guardian and after seven years of
my continuously writing it on
Tuesdays, a youngish mother
brought her child into my office,
one Tuesday morning, for a rou-
tine health maintenance exami-
nation. The mother was well
educated, curious about children s
lives and the impact of early
learning and stimulation on her
child s development, full of ques-
tions but at the same time prac-
tical and down to earth about
her child s possible shortcomings.
After we had satisfied ourselves
that the child was growing and
developing well, she began to
hold forth on a favourite subject
of hers, the scarcity of informa-
tion coming from the Trinidadian
"Why don t doctors teach us
more about illness and how to
keep ourselves healthy? How
come doctors don t write in the
newspapers or go on the radio or
TV and have more programmes
All of this was fascinating for
me. This was exactly what I
thought and the reason why I
had been writing all those years.
I half expected the conversation
to turn to that morning s col-
"Look, just this morning, I read
a wonderful article in the
Guardian about child develop-
ment! Why couldn t someone
like you write that?"
"Excuse me?" I said.
"Why don t you Trini doctors
write like that doctor in today s
"You mamaguying me, no?"
"You sure you not mamaguying
me? You serious?"
She nodded. "Why, what s the
"Well...I wrote the article."
"You serious? You wrote that
article?", tone rising incredulously.
"Well, yes. Been writing in the
Guardian for 12 years, every week
since 1996 and every Tuesday
"You making joke!" And she
looked at me as if I was from Mars.
"You mean to say you don t
know that? You ve been coming
to me for over a year and read-
ing those Tuesday articles (and
she is nodding her head), signed
by me and with my picture---
and you never realised it was
your paediatrician writing?"
By this time she was having a
difficult time meeting my gaze
so I made a small joke about
vision, shrugged it off and we
Really, you can talk and write
about things and people do not
necessarily notice who wrote it
or read it, or if they read,
understand or if they under-
stand, make a change to their
behaviour and I am reminded of
the quote that human nature is
a vast and mysterious forest
that no one understands.
The news arrived last week
that a local NGO, FEEL, has
agreed to host this country s
first "milkathon," to distribute
7,000 cartons of milk to more
than 50 children s homes. In
association with Nestle, of
course, who are going to
"donate" 5,000 units. According
to FEEL, the primary objective
is to assist in meeting the
nutritional needs of these chil-
dren by supplying them with
their "daily requirements of
Well, who can argue with
that? We collecting milk to feed
the poor children in "homes."
Their "daily milk!" It sounds so
But look at it a bit more
What is this about "daily
requirements of milk"? Who
told FEEL that children have a
"daily requirement of milk"?
The only people who believe
that are companies that sell
milk. Children over the age of
one do not have daily require-
ments of milk. Children have
daily requirements of food. Rice
and peas and callaloo. Pelau.
Egg, fish and plantain. Dasheen,
eddoes and pumpkin. Watermel-
on, fig and oranges. Children
need food from the pot.
I have repeatedly written in
this newspaper that milk is not
without its dangers. It is a high-
ly processed item, quite changed
from the stuff that comes out of
a milk cow. In the process, the
protein has been altered and
most of the vitamins and miner-
als displaced and then replaced
with artificial ingredients.
In addition, about nine out of
every ten children who drink
milk will not be able to digest it
because they lack the intestinal
enzyme, lactase, to break down
the milk sugar, lactose. This is
the cause of the flatulence,
abdominal distention and
abdominal colic associated with
drinking milk. Seven to ten per
cent of children will have an
allergic reaction to the protein in
milk and develop dry, itchy skin
and rash, persistent runny, snorty
noses and wheeze.
Those are the immediate reac-
tions. In the long term, milk-
drinking is associated with obesi-
ty, anaemia, poor school
outcome, diabetes, heart attacks,
high blood pressure, colitis, etc
Milk companies are in the
business of selling milk. They
love to associate themselves with
NGOs. It s good for their image
and for their pocket. NGOs have
to be very careful about whom
they associate themselves with.
Collecting milk in a carton, espe-
cially when most of it is immedi-
ately "donated," so the success of
your campaign is guaranteed, is
the easy way out of your duty.
But when it can affect the health
of my patients, it becomes my
duty and right to ask you to read
my articles and then do some
research of your own. You might
be surprised at what you will
find about milk and milk compa-
nies and children.
Google "The Baby Killer" and
make up your own mind.
DAVID E BRATT, MD
MILKATHONS In addition, about nine out of every ten children
who drink milk will not be able to digest it because
they lack the intestinal enzyme, lactase, to break down
the milk sugar, lactose. This is the cause of the
flatulence, abdominal distention and abdominal
colic associated with drinking milk.
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