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Do the sources employed by historians of nutrition science and nutrition policy making have anything to offer those concerned with the narrative approach.

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Presentation on theme: "Do the sources employed by historians of nutrition science and nutrition policy making have anything to offer those concerned with the narrative approach."— Presentation transcript:

1 Do the sources employed by historians of nutrition science and nutrition policy making have anything to offer those concerned with the narrative approach to everyday food behaviour? David Smith, Hon Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine, University of Aberdeen

2 Introduction: outline Some key dimensions of nutrition science in the interwar period Outputs and messages of those who studied dietary habits systematically Some surviving archival material from the dietary surveys Messages from the vitamin camp

3 Interwar vitamin enthusiasm and scepticism Vitamin pioneers / enthusiastic Cambridge School Vitamin sceptics Glasgow School Conducted dietary surveys Hopkins Nobel prize for vitamins 1929 Mellanby Vitamin theory of rickets CathcartPaton John Boyd Orr Directed Rowett Institute, Aberdeen

4 Paton, D.N., Dunlop, J.C., and Inglis, E. (1900) A study of the diet of the labouring classes in Edinburgh carried out under the auspices of the town council of Edinburgh Otto Schulze and Co., Edinburgh. Lindsay, D. E. (1913) Report upon the Study of the Diet of the Labouring Classes in the City of Glasgow carried out under the auspices of the Corporation of the City. (With introduction by Professor D.N.Paton.) Corporation of Glasgow, Glasgow. Ferguson, M., Findlay, L. (1918) ‘A study of social and economic factors in the causation of rickets’, Medical Research Committee Special Report Series no. 20 Cathcart, E. P., Paton D.N. and Greenwood, M. (1924) ‘A Study of Miners' Dietaries’, Medical Research Council Special Report Series no. 87. Paton, D.N. and Findlay, L. (1926) ‘Child Life Investigations. Poverty Nutrition and Growth. Studies of Child Life in Cities and Rural Districts in Scotland’ Medical Research Council Special Report Series no. 101. Cathcart, E.P. and Murray, A.M.T. (1931) ‘A study in nutrition; 154 St. Andrews families’, Medical Research Council Special Report Series no. 151. Cathcart, E.P. and Murray, A.M.T. (1932) ‘Studies in nutrition; an enquiry into the diets of families in Cardiff and Reading’, Medical Research Council Special Report Series no. 165. Cathcart, E.P. and Murray, A.M.T. (1936) ‘A dietary survey in terms of actual foodstuffs consumed’, Medical Research Council Special Report Series no. 151. Orr, J. B. (1936) Food, Health and Income, London, MacMillan Cathcart, E.P., Murray, A.M.T. and Beveridge, J.B. (1940) ‘An enquiry into the diet of families in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland’, Medical Research Council Special Report Series no.242. Rowett Research Institute (1955) Family diet and health in pre-war Britain, Dunfermline, Carnegie United Kingdom Trust For a more comprehensive list of surveys see : D J Oddy (1977) ‘An investigation into patterns of food consumption in Britain 1914-1940’ SSRC End of Project Report HR3170. Main Surveys supervised by Paton, Cathcart and Orr (handout)

5 Dietary Survey Methodology 1: “Man Value” Scales (handout) Atwater (From Lindsay 1913) Lusk (from Cathcart and Murray 1931) Cathcart & Murray new scale 1931 Cathcart & Murray study results 1931 Man 1.0Man: 1.0 Woman 0.8Woman: 0.83 Woman: 0.70 Boy 14-16: 0.8Boy ≥ 13: 1.0Boy ≥ 14: 1.0Boy ≥ 14: 0.78 Girl 14-16: 0.8Girl ≥ 13: 0.83Girl ≥ 14: 0.83- Child 10-13: 0.6Child 10-13: 0.83Child 12-14: 0.9- Child 6-9: 0.5Child 6-10: 0.60Child 10-12: 0.8Child 10-12: 0.68 Child 2-5: 0.4Child 0-7: 0.50Child 8-10: 0.7 Child<2: 0.3Child 6-8: 0.6Child 6-8: 0.46 Child 3-6: 0.5Child 3-6: 0.4 Child 2-3: 0.4Child 2-3: 0.31 Child 1-2: 0.3Child 1-2: 0.28 Child 0-1: 0.2- The final column is based on the actual distribution of food in five families

6 Dietary Surveys methodologies 2: Requirements (handout) Paton et al 1902, 1913: 3500 Cals per ‘man’ (Atwater’s moderately active) Paton et al 1926: City slum child on 2600 per ‘man’ per day grows after 18 months as fast as country children. Lusk’s standard of 3000 might be reduced to 2500-2600. Cathcart 1931: suggest ‘that all families be classified on an arbitrary 2,500 Cal. Scale, and that in the case of manual workers a special addition be made to the male parent’s allowance’ Orr 1936: man values abandoned in favour of ‘a per head basis calculated on the requirements of children, adolescents, and adults, and weighted according to the distribution of these in the total population’. Average per head 2810 Cals. (Stiebeling’s optimal requirements, included requirements for other nutrients) Rowett 1955: used scales devised by the Institute in 1937 and the BMA 1950 scales

7 A page from: Report upon the Study of the Diet of the Labouring Classes in the City of Glasgow (1913)

8 Examples of allusions to the capacity / effectiveness of parents ‘The household consists of... an Irishman... the mother also Irish... and four children... The house has two rooms. It is dirty and ill- kept. The table is always littered with crumbs, and tea, and dirty crockery... The meals are irregular. The children drink tea five or six times a-day, and get a piece of bread whenever they ask for it... Things are bought in small quantities...’ (Edinburgh 1902 report)

9 Extract from ‘A study of social and economic factors in the causation of rickets’, ‘Twenty-nine percent of the mothers of the markedly rachitic children were careless. They were not wilfully neglected, but still the children did not receive sufficient attention. Either the children were not kept clean, their feeding appeared to be irregular and unsatisfactory, or they were allowed to sit for hours at a time on a cold floor or chair...’

10 Extract from: Studies in nutrition; an enquiry into the diets of families in Cardiff and Reading’ (1932): ‘Smallness of income is only partially responsible. Far more important on the whole than the size of the income is improvidence on the part of one or both parents or simply general incapacity.’

11 An example of the data presented in ‘A dietary survey in terms of actual foodstuffs consumed’ (1936) St Andrews data: Groups: I Professional; II Intermediate; III Shopkeepers; IV Skilled workers; V Unskilled workers; VI Unemployed; VII Mother and young family

12 Extract from ‘An enquiry into the diet of families in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland’ (1940)

13 Edward Cathcart, Regius Professor of Physiology Glasgow

14 Typical graph in John Boyd Orr, of Food, Health and Income (1936) showing inadequate nutrient intakes in lower income groups


16 Screenshots from Enough to Eat? (1936) (view at BFI screenonline)

17 health.pdf

18 Areas covered by the Carnegie Survey (handout)

19 Rough list of dietary survey material in Rowett Research Institute archives (handout) DSC - Carnegie Dietary Survey papers: DSC/1 - Records and papers DSC/2 - Papers and test results DSC/3 - Haemoglobin data DSC/4 - Methodology and analysis papers DSC/5 - Expenditure group analysis sheets DSC/6 - Childrens' physical data DSC/7 - Additional material DSC/8 - Aberlour Carnegie Survey papers and results DSC/9 - School meals survey DSC/10 - Statistical material on income and expenditure (not food) DSC/11 - Booklets and notes recording costs of food DSC/12 - Papers on the establishment and analysis of survey DSC/13 - Godden's tables based on LON/RRI requirements DSC/14 - Committee meetings and reports DSC/15 - Microfilms DSC/16 - Follow-up by Bristol University papers Special Collections Centre The Sir Duncan Rice Library Bedford Road Aberdeen AB24 3AA Tel: +44 (0)1224 27 2598 Email: DSO - Material relating to other dietary surveys, nutritional experiments etc.: DSO/1 - Ministry of Food wartime diet studies DSO/2 - Dietary study booklets - Surrey, Essex, Ely, Wales, South Wales DSO/3 - Data sheets of physical measurements 1919-1929 DSO/4 - Dietary study booklets - Glasgow and Blantyre 1941 DSO/5 - British Aluminium Company dietary study 1939 DSO/6 - Strachcona House dietary study 1938 DSO/7 - Dollar Academy dietary study 1938 DSO/8 - Guisachan PT Summer School dietary study DSO/9 - Airlie Training Centre dietary study DSO/10 - Eton School nutritional study 1937 DSO/11 - Gordounston School dietary survey 1937 DSO/12 - Tables analysing dietary composition DSO/13 - SSAC Heavy Industry Surveys 1941-1943 DSO/14 - Spinal survey photographs and statistics DSO/15 - Survey records on vision tests 1938 DSO/16 - Aberdeen and Peterhead household nutrition tests 1932 DSO/17 - Milk campaign dietary survey 1927-1928 DSO/18 - English schoolboys height and weight survey 1936-1938 DSO/19 - Reports and analysis Carnegie and Ministry of Food surveys DSO/20 - Ministry of Food survey 1941 DSO/21 - Physical measurements of Scottish children 1950s DSO/22 - Ilkley, West Yorkshire family diet sheets DSO/23 - Military and Service camps dietary surveys


21 George M’Gonigle in Enough to Eat? ‘... the average working class housewife by rule of thumb methods knows pretty well which foodstuffs to buy to feed her family properly. Though she doesn’t know the difference between a vitamin and a bus ticket our investigations shows quite clearly that as her income increases she approaches more and more nearly to a really satisfactory diet’

22 Mellanby / Orr on Vitamins/Minerals and infections Hopkins on ‘partial deficiencies’ Mellanby: ‘nothing has been more prominent in recent work … than the part played by correct feeding in increasing the individual resistance to infection... I need only allude to the recent accumulation of facts showing the importance of vitamin A in increasing the resistance of the animal...’ E. Mellanby, ‘Duties of the State in Relation to the Nation's Food Supply’, British Medical Journal, 1927 Orr: ‘The influence which long-continued deficiency of mineral matter … may have upon the incidence of disease, due to microbic infection, is well worthy of consideration …’ J. B. Orr, ‘The importance of Mineral Matter in Nutrition’, Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, 1923 Hopkins: ‘it may be said... beri-beri or pellegra or any diseases like them are unknown in this country; and scurvy is … very rare. But disturbances in health may exist without arriving at the extreme stage when the appearance of a severe set of symptoms leads to the recognition of actual disease.’ F. G. Hopkins, ‘The Practical Importance of Vitamins’, British Medical Journal, 1919

23 First appearances of ‘protective foods’ in the medical weeklies (handout) BMJ 1922 editorial :... diets should be supplemented by vitamin-rich foods, of which the most important are milk and milk products, green vegetables, and fruit-substances which McCollum designates as “protective” foods. Lancet 1923: on a paper by Dr Harold Scurfield, MoH for Sheffield on the nutritional value of watercress: There was just the danger that people would get sick of the talk about vitamins before they had absorbed the comparatively simple teaching of the newer nutrition- viz., that they needed to include more of the “protective foods” - i.e., milk, green vegetables, and fruits-in their dietaries.

24 First uses of ‘protective foods’ The Times and Hansard (handout) We are being reminded that milk is a perfect food, that it is rich in vitamins, and that it is the only suitable nourishment for young children or suckling babies; it is also a very useful food for adults, and we are doing all that we can to see that this country produces good, pure milk at a cheap price. This food is so valuable that it has been called one of the "protective" foods, the other being green vegetables, because it does not matter how unsuitable or peculiar the diet of an individual may be, or however much a food crank he may be, provided he includes milk and green vegetables in his diet, he will not go far wrong. The Times 31 January 1930 Hansard 15 May 1928

25 Milk H Corry Mann, Diets For Boys During The School Age. MRC Special Report 1926. J B Orr, ‘Milk consumption and the growth of school-children’, Lancet 1928;i: 202-3. ‘A memorandum on the Nutritive Value of Milk by the Advisory Committee on Nutrition appointed by the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland’, London, HMSO, 1936 See references to works by Peter Atkins and others in the handout

26 The First Ad in The Times using ‘vitamines’ – for Glaxo baby milk (Times, 9 Feb 1920, p. 8f)

27 Times, 3/9/25, 7a Times, 30 Jan1928, p. 11e Times, 18/10/28, 20a See references to works by Sally Horrocks and others in the handout

28 Hopkins on practical application of vitamins in medicine “If the practitioner, when considering whether diet may not be the cause of ill ‑ health has in his mind the idea of specific deficiencies he will no longer reject the possibility when general underfeeding or ill digestion alone have been excluded. Realising that details must be considered, he will, in my opinion, be able to ascribe more to diet than hitherto, and at the same time extend his list of cases diagnosed...” F. G. Hopkins, ‘Recent Advances in Science in Relation to Practical Medicine and the Nutritional Requirement of the Body’, Lancet 1921

29 Times Thursday, Oct 17, 1929; pg. 12; Issue 45336; col A Times Wednesday, Oct 30, 1929; pg. 8; Issue 45347; col G

30 Some references (handout) P J Atkins Liquid Materialities 2010 P J Atkins ‘The pasteurisation of England: the science, culture and health implications of milk processing, 1900- 1950’ in Smith and Phillips L M Barnett, ‘The People’s League of Health and the campaign against bovine tuberculosis in the 1930s’ in Smith and Phillips R. Duffet The Stomach for Fighting: Food and the Soldiers of the Great War 2012 S M Horrocks ‘Nutrition science and the food and pharmaceutical industries in inter-war Britain’ in Smith 1997 S M Horrocks ‘The Business of Vitamins: Nutrition Science and the Food Industry in Inter-war Britain’ in Kamminga and Cunningham H Kamminga ‘”Axes to grind”: popularising the science of vitamins, 1920s and 1930s’ in Smith and Phillips H Kamminga and A Cunningham The Science and Culture of Nutrition 1840-1940 1995 F McKee ‘The popularisation of milk as a beverage during the 1930s’ in Smith 1997 D F Smith ‘The Social Construction of Dietary Standards: The British Medical Association - Ministry of Health Advisory Committee on Nutrition Report of 1934’, in D. Maurer and J. Sobal Eating Agendas Food and Nutrition as Social Problems 1995 D F Smith ‘The early institutional and scientific development of the Rowett Research Institute’ in A Adam, D F Smith, and F Watson To the Greit Support and Advancement of Helth 1996 D F Smith Nutrition in Britain: Science, scientists and politics in the twentieth century 1997 D F Smith and J Phillips Food, Science, Policy and Regulation in the Twentieth Century 2000 D F Smith ‘The Carnegie Survey: background and intended impact’, in A Fenton Order and Disorder 2000 D F Smith ‘The quest for a nutritional El Dorado: efforts to demonstrate dietary impacts upon resistance to infectious disease in the 1920s and 30s’ in E Neswald, U Thoms and D Smith Setting Standards (working title) 2013? D F Smith and M Nicolson ‘Nutrition, Education, Ignorance and Income: A Twentieth-Century Debate’ in Kamminga and Cunningham D F Smith and M Nicolson ‘The “Glasgow School” of Paton, Findlay and Cathcart: Conservative Thought in Chemical Physiology, Nutrition and Public Health’ Social Studies in Science 1989

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