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RATIONS AND HEALTH. With the Guovrnment rationing scheme so close upon us that it will probably be in full force soon after this appears in print, it may be as well to consider what effect it is likely to have on the nation’s health. By this do, not mean the hialth of our gallant solh.er and sailor,, nor of our rutnition-woi rkler and other manual .labourrs in the n.ploy of the State. I ca;use it nim.v Ix. s umu.d Ithat tht (;ovrnment ha, alrIady had tike It St advice obtanabile on thl, plinm ,land hii sat shed itself that the r.atitin, much it is now proviining are sulf- t’ l:n !t to m.lantain their c.trsiumer in full wo rkmk i etic n, v s iaLt one ha. to con- suleer is the .ftit that the reduction in the ailllollrt o)t fw)l th.t he or she is to ,Ie all;ctrel to cro, nume hlikely to have on the hi.alth of th. idllniar cittizen of the black- o.tteýl cl-, . li-thllr iIn town or country As fir the a;irlcultudal lalwurer, he has, unt ,rnruntetcly. lein too ltsed to pritatiton duiring the decay of agriculture in this countllltry for the (clilling change to mIake any difference to hintm. On the whole. then, it may be said at (,nc that the protcnetid scheme seems likely toI proimote rather than to damag’. the

health of th n~nccrou, (la-. Th:, is ep2cia1li tit cater utl regarn! to the, nev·re restrictlion of tht h. i raton ou !uch lorms~ the chlf fat ore in th r t:lu,”n m clint it Ahougb it haa latn v been .,aid in tlua column tha1:t nk-at was m ~ome respect

the adca fhnl lor the br;un sorker. t’auwll. it, its easy ani rapid as- simldation, it should I. remelmered that til er.nLit uot khers forml hut a very small percentage of the class under con- ilduration. and there can be little doubt that the relmander have in times if plenty been accus- tomned to consume more meat than they needed Snutting the question of cancer, thought by -ome to be caused by a too- plentiful meat diet-as to which there is really no conclusive evidence – there is fair reason to suppose that the three meat meals a day which have hitherto been usual with the black-coated class have had something to do with the great in- crease of appendicitis noticerable before the war. Without going to such

heroik ngth . however, the marked decrease in the sale of ” patent ” and other remedies for indigestion shows that the cuttingdoun of the consumption of meat that has already taken place has had a beneficial

A Rwr a T~ FaMo ,Nrv;)-A~utJ4 Djg1iOvE mr~nw aclJe 2~vA~,EL .in ro AIo r~ n AiW An h of MPt!Nv It ~I~Yln 5UITOCATION __ _ __ _

effect and there is no rea-on *.hv :his effect should be es’. ,l bv its further limitation. The rationing of me-at may therefore he core id:c-d as likely to improve rather than impair the health of the average sedentary orker. Tlus tendencv a conilderahly accentnated in the case of sugar. The consumption of sugar, almost


unknown to our ancestors in Tudor times, has in- creased up to the outbreak of roar by leaps and bounds, with a marked effect on the htalth of the pipulation. The well-nigh universal opinion of dentits is that it is the chief factor in the early decay of the teeth


which is one of the most salient features in modern life, and this brings with it a whole train of diseases of the digestive organs. But, beyond this, there is another and more subtle danger. Dr. R. T. Williamson,

sI A . ~ – 4 a. – rýl 7f.” .cf.ars.. M S·r ,`.ýr~i cw u nn

in the BritisL fedical journal for the 2nd of

this month. has shown that in oo0 case of diabetes coming under his observation 31 per cent. appeared to be cau> d by excess of sugar in the diet, 40 per cent. by anxiety or overwork, and about 6o per cent. by the two causes combined. Here, then. are two reasons why

the reduction in the consumption of sugar is likely to he distinctly beneficial. Generally, also, the effect of the reduction in the consumption of lood which has already taken place seems to have had no deleterious effect on the nation’s halth. In dhe Vital Statistics published at the beginning of the month, it appears that the dtaths per lOoo, which w,-re 15s- in 1915. had fallen to 14 in 9106, and were only 4 above the last figure in 1917. Not less pleasing is the falling off in the mortality of children under one year old, where the percentage is calculated not on the deaths per xooo individuals, but on every looo births. Here we find that the number of deaths, which was Ito in gt5., fell to 9l in 1916; and, although it rose again to 97 in 1917, was yet far from reach- ing the 1gr5 figure. This is the more gratifying because the scarcity of milk might have been expected to increase seriously the mortality of the infant popu-

lation, and shows that the nation’s vitality has been increased rather than diminished so far by the reduction of food. This gives fair ground for confidence that the further reduction now about to be enforced will not injuriously affect it

Lest this view be thought too optimistic, it may be as well to say that the ration of butter or margarine seems to have been fixed at too low a figure. Dr. F. G. Hop- kins, in his lectures at University College. Gower Street. last month. showed that the wheat-flour of which our ” war ” bread continues to be made is very deficient in fat, and that bread – and – butter therefore answers a phy- siological want. Four ounces of butter or mar- garine per week does not seem to afford much lati- tude in this respect, yet on this and potatoes the Food Ministry seems to expect the sedentary worker to live. If the margarine ration cannot be increased, the remedy must be sought in im- proverd cooking. But it

is impossible to alter the ideas of our womenfolk all at once, and here again the only effective way out of the difficulty seems to be the provision of national kitchens. F. L.

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Issue 4113. - Vol CLII

Feb, 16 1918

Illustrated London News