A trip to the Iowa State Fair this summer revealed that one of the areas of competition once included a Baby Health Contest. In 1922, 6200 children competed.
The baby score sheet included questions about mother’s work outside the home, baby’s diet, including age at weaning, formula, age at the introduction of solid foods and cod liver oil. Questions about sleep included what time the child went to bed at night, the number of naps and whether the child slept alone. Marks were given for being chair broken, sleeping with the window open and getting a daily airing.
While it’s hard to imagine health as a public competition, the urge to compare children is still alive in well in the checkout line. True health and wellness are more than measurements and milestones.
About Lisa M. Asta, MD
Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at WebMD.com, Rx.com, and MyLifePath.com. She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. BabyCenter.com currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta.
For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit www.LMAsta.com