Chapter

The Impact of Improved Nutrition on Disease Prevention

Richard D. Semba

in Silent Victories

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195150698
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865185 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.003.08
 The Impact of Improved Nutrition on Disease Prevention

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In the 20th century, major progress was made in the near elimination of many nutritional deficiencies disorders in the United States such as rickets, pellagra, iodine deficiency, infantile scurvy, iron deficiency due to hookworm, and subclinical levels of vitamin A deficiency and folate deficiency. The vitamins and their roles in human health were characterized, and dietary requirements were established. The landmark studies of Joseph Goldberger revealed that the cause of pellagra was nutritional rather than infectious. The fortification of foodstuffs, nutrition education, home gardening, and federally supported feeding programs all were aimed at improving the nutrition of the U.S. population. The American diet also evolved in light of the newer knowledge of nutrition. Despite the tremendous advances in the 20th century, obesity and other challenges remain for nutrition and public health efforts in the 21st century.

Keywords: public health; 20th century; nutrition; nutritional deficiency; rickets; pellagra; scurvy; vitamins; food fortification; Joseph Goldberger

Chapter.  14592 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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