The call of the nation is to action. Not one of the least of the calls upon the citizenry is the call to physical fitness and healthful living. It is interesting to analyze the nature of the appeal being made relative to national health. Scrutiny reveals the burden of the public health effort to be a call to observe the simple rules of personal hygiene and temperate living.
The call is not to any new or revolutionary concepts, but rather to the well-known principles which we as a people have knovirn from our earliest history. The present appeal from those responsible for the health of the nation centers largely around 'habits of eating and drinking. Essentially the call is to eat and drink only those things that make for health.
Major attention is given to these two factors in personal hygiene because of their far-reaching effect upon physical fitness. In respect to food, the emphasis concerns the more liberal use of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals and dairy products, and includes particular attention to ways and means of preparing foodstuffs so as to preserve as fully as possible all the vitamin and mineral salt values.
Insufficient attention is being given to the matter of healthful beverages. The rationing of coffee will doubtless curtail its use, but it is regrettable that the deleterious effects of caffeine beverages are not more fully and more widely taught. The use of intoxicating liquors is markedly on the increase, and the devastating results demand the active counteracting effort of all temperance proponents.
In this health-conscious, vitamin-conscious, temperate living, educational effort we can heartily join. The fact is, we as health educators should have borne a more positive testimony all through the years. We should have played a more prominent role in promoting these very principles which are now meeting with such popular favor. It is lamentable that the emphasis upon physical fitness imposed by war found us generally so complacent on the subject, and not out in the forefront. Shall we not now embrace the present opportunity to make our influence felt and our voice heard in extending a knowledge of how to live to promote happiness and well-being in this life, and that which will also be an "important aid in preparation for the life to come."
H. M. W.