Infants are enchanting all over the world, as the new movie "Babies" shows. But their standards of hygiene sure vary.
The film captures the first year of life for four diverse babies. In a nomadic family in Namibia, Ponijao drinks from muddy streams, chews on dry bones and uses her many siblings' body parts as toys.
On a small family farm in Mongolia, a rooster struts around little Bayar's bed, a goat drinks from his bathwater and livestock serve as babysitters.
By contrast, Mari, growing up in high-rise, high-tech Tokyo, and Hattie, whose doting parents live a "green" lifestyle in San Francisco, both have modern conveniences and sanitation.
Statistically, Mari and Hattie are healthier. Some 42 out of 1,000 children in Namibia, and 41 out of 1,000 in Mongolia die before their 5th birthday; compared with only 8 in 1,000 in the U.S. and only 4 in Japan.
Yet the upscale urban infants are at higher risk for some health problems—including allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases like Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease—than the babies in the rural developing world...................
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