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A NATIONAL PROGRAM OF HEALTH EDUCATION
THOMAS D. WOOD, PROFESSOR OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION, COLUMBIA UNIVER
SITY, NEW YORK, N.Y. War throws a spotlight of convincing clearness upon national defects. We are beginning to suspect, if not fully to realize, that even more essential and fundamental to the integrity and permanence of a nation than scientific progress, political achievement, industrial development, and economic accomplishment are biological soundness and fitness, the health of the people. This national asset, health, while the most essential, is at the present time the most endangered, of all our natural resources. appalled at the number of our young men, in both voluntary and draft enlistment, who are incapable of defending their country, who are rejected from military service because of physical and mental defects.
While types of disease and weakness are markedly different in their prevalence in and effects upon the sexes, still the welfare of the nation is, on the whole, as seriously threatened by the physical limitations of girls and women as by those of boys and men.
Some there are who, in view of recent revelations, apprehend this menace to the welfare of the nation. And yet it has been known for years before this great war engulft us that 75 per cent of the more than twenty million school children of this country were handicapt by physical defects.
In the mobilization of our nation's resources for the stupendous task of this war, records even of men in our great training camps, who have been accepted as fit for military service, show that in multitudes of cases and within six months after the beginning of training the improvement in health, in vitality, and in physical and general efficiency has been almost incredible. Shall we not provide as thoro and effective health care and physical education for the children of our country as we furnish for the young men in the army and navy? Our schools are wasting enormous sums in educating, or trying to educate, the children who are handicapt by ill health, when the expenditure of much smaller amounts in a judicious health program would produce an extraordinary saving in economy and efficiency.
Of the school children of the United States 75 per cent—16,000,000 have physical defects which are potentially or actually detrimental to health. Most of these defects are remediable. One of the appalling revelations of recent years is the conclusion, based on unrefuted evidence, that the rural school children in this country are handicapt by more physical defects than the pupils in the city schools. While several significant causes seem to be responsible for this astounding condition, the present physical inferiority of country children depends in part upon the fact that city children now receive more health care than do those in rural regions. The school in the United States is the universal, the officially credited, and the strategic agency to lead in the educational program of health, to standardize the principles involved, and to organize and supervise the social program for the care of the children's health. A national program of health education, adequate in any way to the essential needs of the situation, must include the following items:
1. Health examination and supervision of the pupils' health with provision for the following phases: (a) daily inspection and regulation of attendance at school for the prevention and control of acute and contagious diseases; (6) provision for the general health of the pupils should include the following: (1) health examination and dental inspection at least once a year, followed by notification and advice to the homes; (2) follow-up health service by school and district nurses, with cooperation of home and all available organizations; (3) provision for correction of all harmful, remediable defects by medical and surgical care and by dental and health clinics; (4) warm school lunches for all pupils who do not eat warm lunches at home.
2. A healthful school environment. The schoolhouse should be as sanitary and healthful in all essential particulars as is the best home in the community. Further, it should be pleasing and attractive in appearance, in furnishings, and in surroundings, so that the community as a whole may be proud of it.
3. A hygienic school management which insures conditions in the highest degree favorable and healthful in methods and materials of instruction, in arrangements of program, in length of school day, in forms of examinations and tests, in methods of grading and promotion, in arrangement and supervision of recesses, in requirements of home study, and in personality and influence of teachers.
4. Effective health training and teaching of pupils which is dependent upon: (a) inculcation of health habits affecting the pupil individually and in relation to the home, school, community, and the state; (6) instruction in facts, principles, and motives which will provide the best basis for intelligent and effective action; (c) greater emphasis upon health than upon disease in the program of health-teaching; (d) greater emphasis upon social than upon personal or individual aspects of hygiene; (e) education of children for responsible parenthood.
5. Provision of an adequate and rational physical education with: (a) well-equipt playgrounds, athletic fields, gymnasiums, and utilization of all available outdoor facilities; (b) employment of teachers and supervisors qualified to give sensible and satisfactory guidance to the physical-training activities; (c) the acceptance of useful and healthful social service and vocational activities in the physical-training program.
6. Better preparation of teachers for health education: (a) the teachers should be more carefully selected, and they should be more adequately trained; (b) society should provide more favorable conditions for the preservation of the teacher's health and for the improved efficiency of the teacher's work.
To provide the essentials of administration for a "National Program of Health Education," I submit the following propositions:
1. That a comprehensive, thorogoing program of health education and physical education is absolutely needed for all boys and girls of elementaryand secondary-school age, both rural and urban, in every state in the Union.
2. That legislation, similar in purpose and scope to the provisions and requirements in the laws recently enacted in California, New York state, and New Jersey, is desirable in every state, to provide authorization and support for state-wide programs in the health and physical-education field.
3. That the United States Bureau of Education should be empowered by law and provided with sufficient appropriations to exert adequate influence and supervision in relation to a nation-wide program of instruction in health and physical education.
4. That it seems most desirable that Congress should give recognition to this vital and neglected phase of education, with a bill and appropriation similar in purpose and scope to the Smith-Hughes Law, to give sanction, leadership, and support to a national program of health and physical education; and to encourage, standardize, and in part finance the practical program of constructive work that should be undertaken in every state.
5. That federal recognition, supervision, and support are urgently needed, as the effective means under the Constitution, to secure that universal training of boys and girls in health and physical fitness which are equally essential to the efficiency of all citizens both in peace and in war.
A French war correspondent said recently, “I wish you knew our French lieutenant. He is one of the finest men I ever hope to know. He makes you feel that even more than the great cathedrals he should be guarded and protected—for France.” And so I say to you—I wish you appreciated the children and youth of this Republic. They make up, in possibilities, the finest generation of human beings that the world has ever seen. They make
you feel that, even more than the great museums and monuments, more than great industrial plants and ships, more than great skyscrapers and cathedrals, they should be guarded and protected, cultivated and developt, for America—for the world.
CLUB WORK AND SALVAGE
HENRY R. DANIEL, SECRETARY, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THRIFT,
CHICAGO, ILL. The various phases of thrift work being accomplisht by organizations are so manifold that complete enumeration of these activities is impossible in this brief space, and one can give only the general trend of these accomplishments.
In the matter of increast food production our war gardens last season produced crops valued at $350,000,000. Much of this work was organized by the various state councils of defense, with valuable aid from the Food Administration, school organizations, and farm and garden clubs. The vast amount of new food products produced by war gardens serves as an illustration of the limitless food-producing possibilities of the United States, working under conditions of thoro organization.
In the matter of salvage—the elimination of waste—the same condition is presented. Notable results have been accomplisht here and there, and a citation of some of the most interesting follows: At a recent meeting of the waste-paper dealers the announcement was made that since the war the junk business in America has grown from one hundred million dollars annually to a billion; in other words, there is an increast salvage of nine hundred million dollars a year. Club activity has been responsible for much of this, particularly for the saving and selling waste paper. At Des Moines, Iowa, for example, the school children gathered and sold $2,000 worth of waste paper in a week. Similar results were obtained in many other American cities where various organizations assisted the schools in gathering junk of all kinds and placing it on the market.
The Council of Defense in Milwaukee has successfully inaugurated a plan of getting fish in large quantities from the lake and selling them to the poor people of the city at prices ranging from five to seven cents a pound. We believe that this plan could be operated in many other places under club management, thus permitting many poor people to save money who cannot now do so because of the high cost of living.
Early in the war fish dealers of northern California formed an exchange and appropriated 5 per cent of their gross sales as an advertising fund. The public was given instructions in the food values of varieties of fish that hitherto had little or no market demand. As a result the average price of the fish to the consumers in northern California was lowered 10 per cent. This result was secured at an average cost of about 2 per cent on wholesale sales in a single month. Hundreds of tons of good fish are now being used as food, which formerly were dumpt back into the sea, or were used in the manufacture of glue and fertilizer, being sold for these commercial purposes at five to ten cents a pound, while the public was paying a high price for halibut, salmon, striped bass, smelt, and tenderloin of sole fifteen days after the fish had been caught in northern waters.
In Omaha, Neb., the garbage from a chain of restaurants is fed to four hundred hogs, of which one hundred are ready for slaughter every three months.
The Cotton Seed Crushers' Association of New Orleans is developing the possibilities of cotton seed for food, and at a recent banquet served cakes, cookies, and pastry of various kinds made of a combination of cottonseed flour and white flour.
A process of producing wood alcohol from sawdust has been workt out by the Forestry Products Laboratory, of Madison, Wis., by which one ton of dry sawdust, worth fifty cents, will produce fifteen to twentyfive gallons of 190-proof spirit. A plant large enough to distil from 2500 to 3000 gallons of alcohol daily can manufacture wood alcohol at a cost of from fourteen to twenty cents a gallon.
In Mobile, Ala., a brewery has been turned into a factory to manufacture vinegar from watermelons. The juice is used for this purpose, and the rinds are fed to stock.
At a number of places on the Pacific Coast whale meat is now being packt and shipt, while along the Atlantic Coast shark meat is coming into general use. We are told that at a recent banquet given by the Chamber of Commerce at Raleigh, N.C., a mysterious dish planned and served by the Bureau of Fisheries proved to be creamed shark.
The Jefferson market, which has been operated there since 1832, has for many years meant a loss to the taxpayers of more than $18,000 a year, but now bids fair to be turned to a profitable venture. How far the cooperative idea can with success be carried in America is a problem. In England we have the spectacle of cooperators buying sugar in their own stores at one-third or one-fifth the price their neighbors pay the corner grocery.
We are told by statisticians that French cooperative societies, most important of which is the French Wholesale Society, represent a total cooperative trade of more than five million francs a year, and the saving of about 10 per cent to the consumer, not all of which comes out of the retailers' pockets, but which is largely accounted for in the elimination of waste thru unscientific and improvident methods of distribution.
We believe that the government, both during the period of the war, and afterward, should foster and encourage all public organizations which have for their object the increase in salvage of food and other materials. It will take generations to develop a system of organizations which will bring about a condition in the elimination of waste such as existed in France before the war, but we are now on the right road. Time, patience, and persistency will bring about the desired results.
THE WAR GARDEN MOVEMENT
R. H. WILSON, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, OKLAHOMA
CITY, OKLA. The problem of financing the war will not be solved by a treaty of peace. Years after the guns have ceast to thunder our people will still be financing this war. How many years will be required will depend largely upon the thriftiness of our people after the war as well as during the war. France in 1870 gave us the example we need of the healing powers of thrift. Let us as school men and women prepare to keep alive those organizations