Dietary Timeline

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In 1904, the Report of the Inter-departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration expressed a need for nutritional reform at family level. It identified nutrition as a fundamental determinate of the size and general health of urban populations. Among the recommendations made on behalf of the working classes, by the committee, was tuition in "every branch of domestic hygiene, including the preparation of food, the practice of household cleanliness, the tendance and feeding of young children".

Much of the report focused on the health problems of children – it considered one third of them to be malnourished. As a result of the report, free school meals were offered to the less affluent and routine examinations of school children's health began in 1907. It should be noted that the motives behind the Report of the Inter-departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration were not purely philanthropic. The report was produced in response to a document by the Director General of the Army Medical Services in which he claimed that recruitment for the Boer War was being hindered by the lack of physically adequate men.

John D. Rockefeller, eminent industrialist and entrepreneur declared that he had conquered a serious illness by reducing the amount of food that he ate. In the February 13 edition of Harpers Weekly "he announced to a less-than-stunned world that cheese was a healthful food." Levenstein 1988

Levenstein H.A. (1988) Revolution at the table: the transformation of the American diet, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993.