Page 12, 30st October 1936

30st October 1936
Page 12
Page 12, 30st October 1936 — National Health

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National Health


The Nutrition Film claims to be the first film of its kind to be made in Britain. It is an effort at a screen analysis of the grave social problem of malnutrition, and as such deserves the highest praise. Although it claims to be " a new contribution to research on the national nutrition question," it has more publicity than research value.

It is a further attempt to publicise the terrible state of under-nourishment among the poor that exists to-day, and besides lamenting it, it has a more practical errand, that of teaching the poor what to eat, that is, the best and economical nutritive foods. In educating the public to the food-values it is really reviving dormant instincts and should have a widespread effect.

Publicity by Poignancy

The film does not show the terrible ravages that under-nourishment has created

in England. Director Edgar Anstey has chosen the better method of revealing the tragedy of poverty and the consequent semi-starvation which is the result of a cheap diet chosen more for its filling qualities than for its nutritive value. He gives us poignant interviews with poor mothers

catering for large households. They tell of their difficulties in providing their fami lies with sufficient food. " It gets a bit hard at the end of the week."

We are shown the efforts of the social workers who are bringing some measure of relief to the distressed families, but we are also Shewn that the work is beyond their power. We are shewn the L.C.C.'s system of free meals for school children and the " milk for the masses " maxims carried out.

Statistical Backing Statistical backing is there too to drive home their point. Diagrams shew the impossibility of a satisfactory diet on the amount that some have for their food.

41 millions live on 4s. per week for food. Nine millions live on 6s., another 9 million on 8s., and a further 9 million on 10s. We are shewn the impossibility of maintaining the level of adequacy of the essential ingredients of Calcium and

Iron at that price. Only at 14s. is the " level of adequacy covered."

Ignorance to Blame

Accepting that a large amount of malnutrition is caused more by ignorance of the right things to eat than by the lack of funds — or at least that a considerable amount of it is due to ignorance, the film proceeds to amend the trouble by teaching " what to eat."

It divides foods into various classes. Protection Foods, Energy-giving, Tissuebuilding Foods are all labelled, and the most economical diets maintaining the highest standard of nutritive value are shewn.

The tendency of the poor to cat the filling rather than the valuable foods is as obvious

as it is well illustrated. Milk is recommended wholeheartedly.

Childhood Malnutrition

The film makes especial reference to childhood feeding. The first five years of life are the most important, and unless one is fed properly then one's chances of full development .disappear.

Seventeen point three per cent. Of the children entering elementary schools at the age of five are found to be physically defective, and in a very large proportion of the cases the defect is directly due to inadequate feeding.

The difference in development between the Christ's Hospital scholar and the elementary school-boy at the same age is a striking testimony to the effect of undernourishment.

Surprising enough, the film is made by the Gas, Light and Coke Company, who have thought fit to mix business with beneficence and by this venture creating publicity for themselves and the Nutrition question.

The commentator is Professor Julian Huxley, and other authorities introduced to speak on the subject are Lord Astor, Mr. Morrison, Sir John Orr arid Dr. M'Gorsigle.

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