health

Miranda Kerr is trying to sell you a very dangerous message.

It looks like a helpful book about healthy babies. It’s not.

Miranda Kerr likes to do things the “natural” way.

She is a long-time advocate of raw, clean and organic eating, has her own range of organic skin products, and has spoken openly about her natural, “drug-free” childbirth.

Miranda and her beautiful son, Flynn. Image via Facebook.

“I had made a decision that I wanted to do it (naturally). I had been watching all these baby-bonding videos, and (without epidural) when the baby comes out it goes straight onto the breast,” she said in a Harper’s Bazaar interview after the 2011 birth of her son, Flynn.”Then they showed ones right after the epidural, and that didn’t happen. The baby was a little bit drugged up, and I was like ‘Well, I don’t want that.’ I wanted to give him the best possible start in life I could.”

Miranda’s opinions on childbirth are irritating for anyone who didn’t have a “natural” birth. Some would argue that they are judgemental. But dangerous? No.

But Miranda Kerr’s new baby-care recommendation is dangerous. So dangerous that it could cost lives.

Related: The most popular anti-vaxxer hot spots in Australia. Do you live in one?

Kerr is now promoting the “holistic parenting” guidebook Well Adjusted Babies, by author and influential chiropractor Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani.

Her association with Dr Barham-Floreani goes back. On her website, the Doctor interviews Miranda for a natural health publication, and she says she has been close to the Kerr family for several years, through Miranda’s mother Therese, a wellness advocate who describes herself as an author, speaker and visionary.

The problem is not in the Dr’s encouragement of an organic diet, detoxes or parents being involved in building a “health culture”, but in her views on vaccination.

Miranda Kerr’s life is gloriously, influentially glossy. Post continues after gallery:

Dr Barham-Floreani insists that her position on vaccination is “pro-choice” rather than anti-vaxx. But the vaccination chapter in her book Well-Adjusted Babies (with which Miranda Kerr is apparently so enamoured) is heavy on anti-vaccination content, including:

– She talks about the fact that she decided not to vaccinate her own children, and that when her son got whooping cough, she treated him with homeopathic remedies and increased her own immunity.

– Throughout the chapter she includes quotes from other authors that say things like: “There is no need to protect children from contracting the infectious diseases of childhood”; “If I was to follow my deepest convictions, I would urge you to reject all inoculations for your child”; and “The only safe vaccine is the one that is never used”.

– She implies links between SIDS and vaccinations, quoting a “medical historian” who says, “there is absolutely no way a pathologist can tell the difference between crib death and death caused by vaccination.”

– She includes case studies of parents who vaccinated their children and believe that resulted in developmental delays and dangerous allergies.

– She alludes to a relationship between autism and vaccination, and suggests that one day vaccination will be considered unsafe in the same way as cigarette smoking, thalidomide and asbestos are now considered unsafe.

– She suggests that children are being treated as “innocent guinea pigs” and that there is “ongoing debate about whether vaccines are safe, scientific or even rational”.

We contacted Dr Barham-Floreani for clarification on her stance on vaccination for this story and she provided us with a statement about her position, but did not allow us to quote her unless she was able to review our entire article before publication, something that we do not allow anyone to do.

ADVERTISEMENT
Doctor Jennifer Barham-Floreani.

What is clear from the doctor’s website is that she maintains that there are two competing sides of the vaccination debate with “convincing” arguments “both ‘for’ and ‘against'”. The site implies that there is a weight of evidence on both sides that can be researched in “varied literature” and there is a warning about vaccination “propaganda”.

A “choice” position sounds reasonable – but that is its danger. It is a Trojan horse for anti-vaccination content. There are not two “sides” to the conversation around vaccination at all – respected science says that vaccination is the best way to protect your child and other children against the spread of preventable disease.

Penn & Teller explain (post continues after gallery):

Of course, there is no problem with a healthy lifestyle or a focus on wellbeing, and health education. The problem begins when parents are encouraged to give the same weight to bogus health manifestos as they do to established and respected science.

There is no such thing as the “vaccination debate”.

In endorsing Dr Barham-Floreani’s book, Miranda Kerr lends her celebrity weight to this anti-vaccination content.

What does it matter that Miranda Kerr tells you that a particular baby book is worth reading? It matters because increasingly, what celebrities tell us to do with our diets, bodies and lifestyles are big business.

Well-Adjusted Babies. The ‘holistic’ parenting bible.

In a social-media driven world we lend credibility to big names with big followings. Pete Evans and his paleo crusade. Lifestyle websites run by actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Blake Lively and Reese Witherspoon. All of these people have an enormous amount of influence, and what they say matters. Whether we like it or not.

Miranda Kerr has 14 million social media followers. That’s 14 million people who are now being exposed to a dangerous medical position that can directly affect the lives of millions of children.

That matters.

Are you surprised by Miranda Kerr’s endorsement of this book? 

* Mamamia repeatedly contacted representatives for Miranda Kerr for comment on this story, but at the time of publication, had received no reponse.

Want more on the vaccination debate? Try these articles:

Elmo has taken on the anti-vaxxers. And it’s gold.

This is how anti-vaxxers sound to normal people.

Sunrise’s Kochie slams anti-vax defenders.

Tara was an anti-vaxxer… Until her 7 children came down with whooping cough.

00:00 / ???