Malnutrition and Food Habits

edited by Anne Burgess and R. F. A. Dean. xix + 210 pages. New York, Macmillan Company. 1963. $4.50

Grace GoldsmithDepartment of Medicine Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, Louisiana

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This book reports an international and interprofessional conference held in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 1960 under the sponsorship of the Josiah Macy Foundation. The conference brought together nutritionists, physicians, educators and social scientists to discuss malnutrition, especially protein-calorie malnutrition in young children, and the application of scientific knowledge to prevention and amelioration of this condition. The discussion emphasized the importance of protein malnutrition as a public health problem and showed that it resulted from a combination of medical, agricultural, psychological and social causes, all of which contributed to an inadequate diet.

The social, economic, cultural and psychological factors that influence the formation of food habits and facilitate the processes by which these habits are changed was a subject of primary consideration. It was pointed out that changes in food habits will be strongly resisted as long as circumstances which give rise to the habits remain the same.