Why are kids hospitalized during the school year, and not on
vacation? Is it stress or is it what they eat?
A STOMACH ACHE STUDY
For years, doctors have been diagnosing ulcers, having
concluded that the etiology of gastric pain begins in the
brain. Stress, tension, and worry result in prescriptions
for pharmaceuticals. Recently, the not-so-cognizant medical
profession and over-medicating physicians learned that
ulcers are caused by the Helicobacter Pylori bacteria.
Last week's issue of the British Medical Journal (1999; 318:
1455) reported that children are more likely to be admitted
to hospitals with stomach pains during the school year,
rather than during vacation time.
After tracking 4,600 cases of abdominal pain admissions to
one British hospital, the authors of this study noted that
eighty percent of gastrointestinal stomach disorders and
abdominal pain occurred while kids were in school. Kids are
in school 180 days out of the year. There are 52 weekends,
summer vacations and other holidays in which they are not in
school. One would expect half or less of the 4600 cases to
randomly occur on school days, not eighty percent.
THE BRITISH SCIENTIST'S HYPOTHESIS:
``This raises the possibility that psychological and
behavioral factors may be involved in the condition.''
WHAT DOCTORS REFUSE TO CONSIDER
Children have different diets during vacation time.
Children have different diets on weekends. Saturdays and
Sundays provide much-needed rest and kids love to sleep
late. Summer vacations provide two months of the "sleeping
I have three kids, and was a stay-at home dad during their
early years. That more than qualifies me to offer expert
testimony on a subject the British scientists missed.
My kids used to have stomachaches. They used to drink milk.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
School-day breakfasts are rush-rush affairs. Typically, a
parent has about 45 seconds to open the box of cereal and
pour the milk, while the kid eats the breakfast in 30
On weekends, and during vacation time, there is no need to
rapidly slurp down milk and alter gastic acidity in the
morning and afternoon. When taking away the stomach's
ability to do the job it was designed to do, we create
problems for ourselves and our children.
MILK CHANGES THE ACIDITY OF THE STOMACH
The pH (level of acidity) of the human stomach is about 1.8,
which is strong enough to convert animal flesh into amino
acids. After drinking a 12-ounce glass of milk, the
stomach's acidity changes. A powerful acid environment is
buffered up to a 6.0, so that everything ferments and
putrefies for the next four hours.
One would not leave milk out of the fridge for 1 hour in 80
Fahrenheit degree heat; yet, parents do not consider the
effect of allowing milk to sit in a child's stomach for four
hours. As usual, when it comes to nutrition, doctors are
After breakfast's indigestion, there's just enough time for
your little one to drink a container of chocolate milk with
his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
GOT STOMACH PAIN?
In addition to gastric distress, we create a society of
irritable children, unwilling and unable to learn.
School is out! Kids sleep late. Moms and dads go to work.
Kids scavenge their refrigerators for leftover scraps of
dinner. They go to malls for fast food. Burger King and
MacDonalds promote soda, NOTMILK. They'd rather not risk
having parents associate "Kid's Meals" with stomachaches.