Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/290

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the homes where it is understood and the necessary diet and food are provided.[1]

The minor ailments, such as colds and sore throats, cause even well men to lose at least five days a year from their work.[2] Yet investigation and research are showing that these minor ailments can be controlled in a large measure by diet.[3] Professor Fisher says that he knows scores of cases in which the tendency to take cold has been almost completely overcome by diet. Such being the case it will be necessary for those who prepare and serve the food to be cognizant of what kind of food the body requires for its highest efficiency, and since as society is now organized, the preparation of food is woman's work, it must be possible for women to know in some way the latest results of scientific research in foods and general hygiene in order to prevent disease.

Statistics tell us that misery, which represents maladjustment to environment, is frequent in rural as well as in city life. "Perfect health, full physical vigor and overflowing animal spirits are much more rare among dependent classes than moral virtues. The prevalence of ill health is due in large part of course to ignorance and the continued neglect of the elementary rules of personal hygiene."[4]

It is a noteworthy fact that after the destruction of the homes by the San Francisco earthquake the health of the community as a whole improved, due no doubt to the plain, substantial food, the outdoor life and the military system of sanitation, where before people had been living in homes in accordance with their individual ignorance. Professor Devine states also that there is great need of medical knowledge in our homes to overcome the ravages of such diseases as the minor maladies of rheumatism and colds.[5] This puts the responsibility of human health on the home and the woman in the home who has charge of the preparation of food, the vital welfare of mankind and hence the other dependent phenomena of personality.

Professor Devine says, in speaking of the waste of infant life, that in England 10 per cent, of the babies of aristocratic families die in the first year, 21 per cent, of the middle class, and 32 per cent, of the laboring class, which facts show that the ignorance of the proper care of infant life is not altogether due to poverty.[6]

Many charity workers report that the "unpreparedness of the wife and mother" to make a home is often a cause of misery, because through ignorance disease comes and disability, with much resultant suffering and want. In these homes where the unprepared mothers try often-

  1. Ibid., p. 3.
  2. Ibid., p. 39.
  3. Ibid., p. 40.
  4. Devine, "Misery and its Causes," p. 74.
  5. Ibid., p. 84.
  6. Survey, December 4, 1909.