Social Aspects of Nutritional Science


    THOUGH there is still a tendency among certain people to deplore the passing of the "good old days", it has to be acknowledged that during the past century and a half the lot of the poorer sections of the populations of western Europe has been enormously improved. In the past, war, famine and pestilence have decimated many countries ; to-day, in Europe, famine is the exception and many types of pestilence have been already almost forgotten, although the widespread occurrence of infectious diseases, especially influenza in pandemic form, yet offers many problems for preventive medicine. The advance in public health and well-being, strikingly shown by the fall in the death-rate and the extension in the expectation of life of the individual, was made possible by the advances in sanitation and medical knowledge, and the improvement in the social conditions of the lower-income groups was due to the rapid growth of wealth, which resulted mainly from the advances in scientific knowledge and its application. The awakening of the social conscience of the community has frequently played no mean part in these advances.

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    Social Aspects of Nutritional Science. Nature 140, 865–866 (1937).

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