Food Education In The Schools
( Originally Published 1930's )
Good health campaigns have developed here and there for many decades. A great part of all these campaigns have been considered educational. However, they have been conducted from a sanitation and germ prevention standpoint. Certainly, the success of such effort is well attested by the elimination of epidemics. Practically all contageous disease has been placed under control. This status has been obtained as much by education as by the methods used.
The United States Government has been the essential power house in co-ordinating the good health fight. In fact, most countries of the world have recognized the fact that central government must take charge and not leave matters of health to lesser political divisions.
In more recent years, our government has taken up a further responsibility in good health maintenance. Various laws have been passed, and more are being considered for the welfare of American people. No doubt, before too long, we shall have national hospitalization and medical care. All these activities indicate that even governments recognize responsibility for the good health of its citizens.
Great care has been taken to prevent germ disease attack. Equal efforts are being exerted to care for those who have been attacked by disease from any source. However, too little effort has been expended in educating the public to fortify the body with proper food replacement to prevent diseases of nutrition.
True, our government publishes the Agriculture Year Book which delineates food values at great length, but few people know about it. No campaign of food value education has been conducted. This has been left to various individuals and groups who may have ideas concerning the subject.
Must we grope among the hundreds of treatises upon food, and blindly pick our knowledge from the brochures of those who have a service, or item, to sell?
What is back of the resistence to disease which carries this, or that man to a full and long life with very little sickness or disease? There can be but one answer; that is FOOD.
We live because we eat. We live long because we eat right. Then why should we have to gamble upon eating right, when that gamble is with the length and enjoyment of life?
Correct nutrition is no longer a matter of guess work. Sufficient knowledge is on record to prevent half of the nutritional diseases which attack humanity. The dissemination of this knowledge, through proper educational channels, is imperative, if millions are to be relieved from misery, and thousands from a too early death; all due to wrong eating.
Right now, the Superintendent of Documents in Washington, D.C., has a number of picture charts depicting the nutritional deficiencies induced in rats. These pictures graphically picturize the difference in size and appearance in white rats which have been denied various kinds of food. In other words, what the rat does NOT get to eat is what hurts him.
The sight of these pictures, which may be obtained for a small sum from the superintendent of documents, will tell you, in ten minutes, exactly what we have taken long months to assemble in the pages of this book. When you SEE a food deficiency, you need not be told.
You may ask what food deficiencies in rats have to do with you. Biochemists have found that rats and guinea pigs respond to nutritional experiments more nearly like man than any other animals. Food deficiencies cause many diseases in the human system. You should know what they are. This knowledge should not be bottled up for the use of experts, alone, but should become a part of the knowledge of every man, woman, and child.
There is a way to spread the knowledge of correct nutrition. Food should be a subject of school curriculum. It should not be a one year credit subject. It should be a partial credit for every year of school life; from the first grade to graduation out of high school.
The writer realizes such a proposition is a large order. You can not make people eat a food they do not like. However, it is possible to create a desire to learn to eat a food which is not liked. This would require the services of a psychologist. No simple mat-ter; this food curriculum in the schools.
If nothing is accomplished in the first grades but the creation of a desire for a greater variety of food, that accomplishment will bear fruit in a longer life for the child. As the child advances from grade to grade, the various sections of a planned food curriculum could be introduced, until home economics, biology, and biochemistry crown the graduate with certain knowledge of nutrition which could spell from one to two decades more of life.
Of course, a real start upon food education would include a class for the parents who supply the family larder. However, in consideration of the old saying: "You can not teach an old dog new tricks," we can not hope for the almost impossible. Nevertheless, children who desire foods can usually put up a sufficient clamor to get some things they want.
Any start in the right direction is a start. If nutritional education MUST start with the child instead of the parent, the result will be good. Children do become parents, and succeeding generations will profit by new tastes and new knowledge of eating planned foods to the extent of reaching for that hundred years of age.
Just because this generation, like its ancestor, wishes to dig its own grave with its teeth, is no reason why future generations should go and do likewise.
The writer of "Fifty Million Bellyaches" suggests the food subject as a part of school curriculum so that people may begin to live long enough to learn why God created this model world and placed humanity at the head of it.
In the meantime, you, who read, should not await an attack of nutritional disease. If science must build food concentrates such as vitamins, amino acids, and minerals, in order to correct your illness, do you not think you would be wise to eat them in the First Place and save yourself misery and expense?
If every man, woman, and child, could realize the importance of wide variety in eating, and knew something of nutritional deficiency diseases, each would be glad to start eating their way to health. Marathons of age would become the rule instead of the exception, and we would have a chance to call Methuselah a grandchild.