LETTER- Schneider wrong on kid pork

Bill Schneider's July 30 essay "New mission: No child left inside," begins with a delightful account of his childhood reminiscences, with an equally delightful picture of a young boy proudly astride his bicycle. It brought back similar dear remembrances to me.

Reading further, I thought that this essay was intended as social satire. But no, there really is a Congressional effort to legislate a politically defined and politically correct childhood experience.

Senator Paul Sarbanes, of Sarbanes-Oxley business-regulatory fame, has teamed with Senator Jack Reed, according to Mr. Schneider, to wipe out the dreaded "Nature Deficit Syndrome (NDS)."

Recently, President Obama accused the medical profession of prescribing the more expensive colored pill and performing medically unnecessary surgical procedures (tonsillectomies) to run up physicians' incomes. Now, we are presented with a newly discovered disease "NDS." Should we not be suspicious that supporters of this bill might also be running up the tab for their favorite causes?

The discoverer of this malady, Richard Louv, admits that this disorder is based on "scanty research." How many children might be provided needed medical care, immunizations, and better nutrition for this same $500,000,000 of taxpayer money?

Building upon the much-maligned "No Child Left Behind," this rescue package is named the "No Child Left Inside Act of 2009," intended to get kids back outside. Would that be outside of the school classes already being funded to provide increased learning skills? Why not combine these noble efforts into one federal bill, "No Child Left Behind in the Woods"?

Note that the boy in the picture has no helmet, no knee protectors, no gloves, and the bicycle is not plastered with lawsuit-inspired warning labels. Childhood used to be a period of learning of the risks inherent in life.

It takes neither a village nor a nanny state to provide a child a trip to the park, woods, or farm; it just takes parental guidance to turn off the computer, cell phone, video game, and take the kids for a walk.

Charles G. Battig, M.D.