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The Scientific Basis of Rationing

Naturevolume 100pages385387 (1918) | Download Citation



AN ideal ration is one which provides the adult with sufficient potential energy to meet all the demands made by the organs of his body for transformation into the kinetic form, and enough building material to make good the wear-and-tear of essential cells; a complete ration for children and adolescents must also make provision for the requirements of growth. Three methods of determining the quantities needed to fulfil these conditions are available. The first is to follow as closely as possible the system of an engineer, viz. to study the efficiency of the human machine as a transformer of energy when measurable amounts of work are performed under determinate conditions. The second is to measure the total energy transformed by the body under various conditions, also determinate, although not necessarily permitting of an exact evaluation of the amount of mechanical work done. Lastly, when it is neither possible to measure directly the energy transformed nor to evaluate the work done, the composition of diets consumed by samples of men engaged in different occupations throws light upon the probable needs of different classes.

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  1. 1

    "Muscular Work: a Metabolic Study." (Washington, 1913.)

  2. 2

    Proc. Roy. Soc., B, 1917, vol. lxxxix., p. 394.

  3. 3

    "Studien zu einer Physiologic des Marsches." (Berlin, 1901.)

  4. 4

    "Le moteur humain" (Paris, 1914), pp. 527 et seq.

  5. 5

    Summarised in Dr. Leonard Hill's “Memorandum on Workers' Food" (Health of Munition Workers Committee, No. 19, Cd. 8798).

  6. 6

    Contained in successive Bulletins of the U.S.A. Department of Agriculture.

  7. 7

    Slosse and Waxweiler, “Enquête sur le Régime alimentaire de 1065 ouvners beiges." (Brussels, 1910.)

  8. 8

    Board of Trade, 1903, Cd. 1761, p. 210; 1913, Cd. 6955, p. 300.

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