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The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943 (1943)

Chapter: The Wartime Roles of the Nutritionist: Supplementing the Role of the Nutritionist at the Household Level, April 26, 1942 and June 16, 1942

« Previous: Contributions from the Field of Child Development, June 28, 1941
Suggested Citation:"The Wartime Roles of the Nutritionist: Supplementing the Role of the Nutritionist at the Household Level, April 26, 1942 and June 16, 1942." National Research Council. 1943. The Problem of Changing Food Habits: Report of the Committee on Food Habits 1941-1943. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9566.
Page 158

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THE WARTIME ROLES OF THE NUTRITIONIST AND SUPPLEMENTING THE ROLE OF THE NUTRITIONIST AT THE HOUSEHOLD LEVEL * APRIL 26, 1942-JUNE I6, 1942 Many leading nutritionists in Washington attended these meetings and participated in the discussion. They commented at first on the background materials and continued with a general discussion. The nutritionists empha- sized that their role in wartime was very similar to that in peacetime, only more intensified, and that its most important aspect was to provide the scien- tific information which would be most useful to those working directly with families and their food problems. Too great emphasis on the long-time aspects of the program with only cursory recognition of the war situation was thought likely to detract from the program, as people very easily think of a nutrition program as part of a welfare program that is identified with femininity, passivity, and being on the defensive. The usefulness of the war situation in focusing attention on the importance of good nutrition was brought out with the example of the "Food for Freedom" slogan, which was very effective in giving increased emphasis to progress in food production and nutrition education. The methods of presenting nutrition information to the public and the role of the nutritionist in this activity were discussed. Nutrition interest for many people is synonymous with taking a course, and it is necessary to consider which of the various types of people with some nutrition training cap help most' in leading such groups. Volunteers, including both those who have had formal training in nutrition and lay people who have taken nutrition courses, can be effectively used only if they also know how to make the teach- ing and the subject matter alive. An experiment in New York City was described, in which specialists gave the women not only the necessary nutri- tion information but also the techniques for handling groups and creating the need for the information. These women then organized other groups, some in cooperation with schools, and-arranged to take care of the young children while the mothers met. Emphasis in these groups was placed on democratic leadership, getting the women to participate actively, and reaching women not otherwise touched by civilian groups. The motivation for such study groups can easily be found in the present problem of meeting rising prices and the changing food situation and still feeding one's family adequately. This meets the 'important requirement of combining consumer interests with nutrition education. * Background material for these two liaison sessions, held April 26, 1942, and June I6 1942, were three memoranda, "The Wartime Roles of the Nutritionist," by Dr. Margaret Mead, "A Definition Study," by Rhoda Metraux, in which definitions of a nutritionist were collected, and "A New York City Experiment in Home Making in Wartime," by Dr. Ruth Benedict. See minutes of Liaison Sessions of the Committee on Food Habits, under same titles. 158

Next: Local Food Sufficiency, September 26, 1942 and November 21, 1942 »
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