Chapter

The More Things Change: A Historical Perspective on the Debate over Vitamin Advertising in the United States

Rima D. Apple

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/9780195150698.003.09
 The More Things Change: A Historical Perspective on the Debate over Vitamin Advertising in the United States

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Vitamin supplements have been popular from the time the micronutrients were discovered in the early 20th century. Popular news media and advertisements promoted vitamins as crucial for two critical concerns: vitamin supplements insured that the diet contained sufficient quantities of critical micro-nutrients; and vitamins—whether as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in cosmetics—could enhance beauty. While health professionals and medical practitioners recognized the critical value of vitamins, they often saw the growth of the vitamin industry as a threat to the general population's health and well-being. Over the century the themes of beauty and insurance were re-interpreted and reinforced through successive eras, reverberating in the contemporary promotion of the cancer fighting potential and beautifying effects of anti-oxidants.

Keywords: vitamins; Food and Drug Administration; cosmetics; food supplements; nutrition; rickets; micro-nutrients; Walter H. Eddy; Vitamins Plus; anti-oxidants

Chapter.  5232 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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