Why It’s Cheaper to Ask Dr. Seuss Why Babies Won’t Eat


Green eggs and hamI do not like food with a sneeze.

I do not like licks on my cheese.

I do not like already chewed.

I do not like tests on my food.

I would not eat them for a guest.

I would not eat them in a test.

I would not eat them by the gram.

I would not eat them Uncle Sam!

(With apologies and thanks to Dr. Seuss)


This is another instance of crafty people getting paid to do what wives have been doing for free for centuries. No, not that, I mean learning by trial–and–error what babies will and will not eat. The Washington Free Beacon’s eagle–eyed reporter Elizabeth Harrington has found another expensive federal study that means to improve on centuries of practical experience.

This time “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent nearly $1.5 million studying how infants think about food.” The University of Chicago — the same institution that brought us the atomic bomb — has now focused it’s considerable brainpower on a smaller project called “Infants’ and Children’s Reasoning About Foods (sic).”

As part of the preliminary results these intrepid researchers have announced young children don’t like to eat foot that has been licked or sneezed on, unless done by a dog. No doubt the next release of data will assure mothers it is a toss–up between whether an infant prefers to eat or throw his food.

The grant application for this project, like many of its kind, makes for unintentionally hilarious reading: ““Evidence suggests that infants’ and children’s earliest patterns of eating have lasting consequences for health across the lifespan.” This is what happens when childless grad students and nanny–wielding professors collaborate.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The highchair years are the one time in your life you’ll eat puréed rutabaga and it’s all thanks to dear old mom. When my son was an infant we conducted an experiment and fed him picadillo, a Caribbean dish with complex spices. He loved it. Now, at age 20, Karl wouldn’t touch picadillo while wearing a haz–mat suit.

The same goes for more benign food (see, ‘food’ doesn’t require an ‘s’ to be plural!) like bananas and raisins.

Karl may have been the world’s youngest food bigot. For years if food wasn’t white and bland, he wouldn’t eat it. And since he was such a suspicious child, we couldn’t cover colored food (can I say that?) with white gravy to sneak it past the palate police. Karl always took the time to dig under the sauce.

Feeding him was like running the kitchen at the Golden Years Hospice. The only meat Karl would eat was chicken, so naturally when I wanted him to eat something else, I just said it was “chicken.” This included steak, sausage, hot dogs and hamburger. This ploy worked like a charm until he learned how to read.

The grant goes on to pontificate: “Despite the complexity and significance of food selection, developmental psychologists have devoted surprisingly little attention to studying how infants and children perceive, learn, and reason about foods (sic).” Of course it could be no one wasted time and money studying how “children perceive, learn, and reason” about food because kids were growing up just fine without Uncle Nanny’s help and they couldn’t find a sucker foolish enough to fund it, until NIH came along.

In fact, if I remember correctly, the childhood obesity epidemic began just a few years after the federal government decided we needed to be told what to eat. Before then we successfully maintained our weight with a combination of cigarettes and booze.

“Scientists” contend infants have “limited knowledge in the food domain.” True, but I can assure you they know what they like. What they don’t like it easy to identify because it winds up on the wall.

According to Harrington the project began in 2012 and will continue until 2017 when any children the researchers have will be old enough to know they’re being exploited. Taxpayers have been dunned $1,486,521 for this close examination of common knowledge.

It’s easy to be complacent about this relatively small, in federal terms, amount of waste, but that’s a mistake. This study is another building block in the foundation of the all–pervasive Nanny State. The fact these studies are methodologically useless won’t matter. (Click here to see how half of the cognitive psychology tests produce results that can’t be confirmed by verification tests.)

Other government bureaucrats in agencies that are hotbeds of regulatory activism — USDA comes to mind — will use the study as part of our betters’ program to exert government control from crib to crypt.

And we’re helping them do it by not objecting to pointless, federally–funded studies that research the obvious.

Previous articleThey Are Not Our Friends
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic, entertaining and funny keynote speaker for corporate, non–profit and governmental organizations. In addition to his speaking and consulting, Shannon is an editorial page columnist for Virginia’s News & Messenger. As consultant to The Israel Project, he has made a number of trips to Israel where he worked closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in their efforts to promote a positive image of Israel. Shannon has also conducted media and message training workshops for MFA and Israeli Defense Forces spokespersons along with representatives of various non–governmental organizations. During the UN Court trial in The Hague, Shannon worked closely with the MFA in its international media outreach. Shannon teaches message development, crisis communication and public relations for The University of Tennessee – Chattanooga Command College, conducts the political advertising and message section of The University of Virginia's Sorenson Institute and he lectures on message development, politics and lobbying for The Police/Fire Labor Institute. He is a regular speaker on political commercials, crisis communication and public relations for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has also addressed the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, National League of Cities, conducted seminars for Information Management and The University of Arkansas – Little Rock and performed as the keynote speaker for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Shannon’s client list includes SAIC; United National Congress (Trinidad & Tobago); Royal Castle, Ltd.; New Generation Imaging; Dry–Clean Depot; Texas Medical Assn.; American Medical Assn.; American Medical Assn. PAC; Indiana State Police Alliance; Minneapolis Federation of Police; St. Paul Police Federation; Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance; The Peterson Companies; Gleaning for the World; various political candidates and elected officials. The work Shannon has done in the radio and television arena has been recognized for both creativity and effectiveness. He is a multiple first place winner in the American Association of Political Consultants Pollie awards. Shannon won back–to–back first place Silver Microphone awards for radio commercials. He is a three–time winner of the prestigious Gold statue at the Houston International Film Festival. Shannon won first place in the Vision Awards for television. He has also won consecutive Silver Microphone awards for best campaign.