It is highly important that the message of healthful living be presented in such a manner that it will appeal to the fair-minded. well-informed people of an audience, and cause them to respond favorably. We are to present these principles in their most attractive form, and are to use tact and courtesy in correcting wrong practices.
In teaching health principles in various locations, the circumstances surrounding the populace of the locality as to climate, customs, prejudices, financial status, available foodstuffs, potential future developments, etc., must be taken into account. The teacher must consider the immediate needs of the people, and seek to make the instruction very practical, specific, and easily understood. We ate frequently told that physicians, dietitians, and nurses often "speak over the heads of their audience."
Let as as health educators choose subjects that are fundamental and of vital importance, speaking on them in nontechnical language and with such clearness and impressiveness that we leave our hearers something of personal value—something which will motivate them to a more intelligent and conscientious observance of the principles of healthful living.
We are not to condemn the present practice of an individual until, we are able to show and teach him a better way. Neither should the transition in habits be too abrupt, but rather, .the change is to be made gradually. In diet, for example, gradually teach how to make substitutions where they are needed, in order to provide a more healthful dietary that is adequate and well balanced.
The health teacher should be well informed, and should thoroughly understand the basis for reform. There have been extreme and fanatical views, especially as relates to foods. In fact, I know of no other field of medical practice in which there has been more spurious teaching than in the field of diet. All sorts of fads, fancies, unsound notions, and even pernicious views are abroad in the land. Unwarranted claims for this or that food, and extravagant claims that all disease can be prevented or cured by diet, are very unfortunate.
Recently a statement came to our desk from an overenthusiastic individual, advocating that the only cure for the world's political and social ills was the adoption of a nonflesh diet. That individual had been swept off his feet in his contemplation of the virtues of vegetarianism. Probably very little credence is ever given such sweeping claims, yet they have an unfavorable influence. Let there be greater effort put forth to teach in a sound manner the balanced, scientifically correct principles of healthful living adopted by this denomination.
H. M. W.