Mary Eberstadt’s important new essay, The Child-Fat Problem, makes a persuasive case that children are getting fatter because their mother’s are working for long hours away from home. As Eberstadt points out, this has important health consequences. But as far as I’m concerned, the real importance of Eberstadt’s piece is broader. For one thing, her analysis connects the child fat problem to a whole series of larger social changes linked to women’s entry into the workforce–the weakening of neighborhoods, the new conditions of children’s play, etc. Beyond that, Eberstadt’s analysis suggests that the child-fat issue is only the tip of the iceberg–only the most easily measurable aspect of a many sided emotional problem.