The Nine Months That Made You Review: Reductio Ad Absurdum

THE NINE MONTHS THAT MADE YOU: Monday 22nd August, BBC2, 9pm

The thing about The Nine Months that Made Me [Mmmmm]… the thing about The Nine [chomp]… The thing [munch]… I’m sorry, let me just finish eating this.

That’s better. I’ve just been so busy eating packets of deep-fried cigarettes that I’ve barely got time to speak. Since I finished watching Horizon’s The Nine Months That Made You, I’ve not this real hankering to treat my body really appallingly. I just smoked a cake.

But I’m one of the lucky ones. I have what Professor David Barker describes as a good constitution. “Clearly there are people with good constitutions who live long lives,â€? he says. “For them healthy lifestyles might not matter so much.” Ace! I know I have a good constitution because, according The Barker Theory, there is a sliding scale of constitutional health which can be determined by your birth weight. Little babies have bad constitutions. They will be unhealthy adults. Big babies have good constitutions. They will be the kind of healthy adults who can eschew healthy lifestyles in favour of competitive eating.

If that sounds to you like a simplistically reductive analysis of lifelong health outcomes, then keep it to yourself will you? Since discovering that my baby weight was similar to that of an average Tongan rugby player, I have taken this programme for the hedonists’ charter it was presumably meant to be. As the voiceover man made clear, by the time we are born our health and our age are already largely determined. So all us parents can stop being so uptight as well.

“Parents have to deal with both sides of it,â€? says Janet DiPietro the most terrifyingly irresponsible developmental psychologist in the history of lightweight pseudoscience. “If your child turns out to be a happy child it’s not your doing. But if your child turns out to be a difficult unhappy child, it’s also not your doing.”

The rest of this “truly remarkable scientific project,â€? is spent shuffling off between India, The Netherlands, The US and Saudi Arabia to effectively tell us that good nutrition during pregnancy leads to healthier people. On the grand scale of scientific breakthrough, it is up there with: keeping your hands out of food blenders will leave you with a fuller complement of fingers.

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