THE main purpose of this paper is to show something of the manner in which woman's work in the home in regulating and arranging the diet of her family may help or hinder their harmonious vital, mental, moral and social development as well as her own, through her ability or inability to make use of the accumulated knowledge of conditions necessary for human welfare.
The purpose also is to show if possible the importance of greater knowledge of what is best for individual welfare on the part of homemakers to whom is intrusted the first and early care of the potential citizen or the social personality with its varied phenomena of vitality, mentality, morality and sociality.
Vitality is fundamental. Without good health we can not expect the highest mental development. Without good health and the vital conditions which produce it we can not expect a high morality. Without good health and the sense of well being which accompanies it, we can not expect a deep sense of sociality or social sympathy.
Two factors operate to produce vitality, i. e., heredity and hygiene. Within the limits of this paper heredity has no place. One phase alone of hygiene will be discussed. The hygienic methods of improving vitality may be classed in three groups—public hygiene or the activities of government, such as general sanitary measures; semi-public hygiene or the activities of the medical profession and institutions such as hospitals; and personal hygiene or the private life of the individual and family.
The subject of personal hygiene has three main divisions: nutrition or suitable foods; environment—air, soil, clothing, dwellings and so on, and activity or the proper balance between work, play and sleep. Still another element in personal hygiene concerns the sex relation. These divisions of the subject of personal hygiene are closely bound together in their importance to human welfare. Yet food is the primary essential of the human organism. Food, then, is the phase of
- The writer wishes to express her sense of obligation in the preparation of this paper to the department of sociology and economics and the department of chemistry of the State University of Iowa.