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were taken wholly at random, and their mass amounted to a liberal random sample of average children of the United Kingdom, representing all classes. They were ranged with reference to but one thing the ascertained drinking-habits of their parents. I saw the completed reports from Edinburgh and Manchester, and the returns from Glasgow were largely in.

"The Laboratory took this large collective sample of English childhood, and set out to determine the relation between parental drinking and the height, weight, intelligence, eyesight, character of diseases, and the death-rate of these children.

"They found that the average height of the children whose parents drank (putting all ages together) was 47.9 inches, and of non-drinking parents, 47.5 inches. The average of the former was 55.0 lbs., and of the latter, 53.8 lbs.

"The children whose parents drank averaged 9.8 years, while the children of sober parents averaged 9.4 years. The conclusion was that the drinking of parents had no appreciable effect upon the height or weight of these children. The old maxim, that ‘drinking stunts one's children' was shown to be without foundation, as far as the material of this investigation was concerned.

"Then the painstaking Laboratory considered separately the statistics of fathers and mothers, boys and girls. It was found that while the drinking of the father did not appear to have any effect upon either the boys or the girls, the mother's drinking showed a slight relation. The girls showed more bad effects than the boys, and it is probable, therefore, that it was the environment of the home that was chiefly responsible. A drinking mother bespeaks poorer care for the children than a drinking father, and girls feel it more than boys.

"The employment of the mother was a factor, too. An employed mother has less time to look after her children, and the Edinburgh report showed that 43.6 per cent. of the drinking mothers were employed and only 26.4 per cent. of the sober mothers. For the effects of drinking of the parents upon the general health, the children were divided into four classes, the healthy, the delicate, the epileptic and the phthisical, and those who died young. The results showed clearly, that there was no connection between parental drinking and good or bad health, on the part of the children. "Of all the things that we have been accustomed to assume as likely, one of the foremost is that parental drinking weakens the

wits of the children. It was so untrue in the case of these English children, that the investigation proved a slight balance the other way.

"To drinking fathers there were born 34 per cent. of defective sons and 30 per cent. of defective daughters; to drinking mothers, 40 per cent. of defective sons and 24 per cent. of defective daughters. "To sober fathers, there were born 41 per cent. of defective sons and 31 per cent. of defective daughters; to sober mothers, 39 per cent. of defective sons and 30 per cent. of defective daughters.

"The examination of the eye-sight of these English schoolchildren resulted in bringing forth two remarkable facts: The larger proportion of normal eyes was found among the children of drinking parents, and the larger proportion of various classified diseases of the eye among the children of sober parents. The tables showed that, if anything, the children of drinking parents had better eye-sight than the children of sober parents.

"This discovery reminded the Laboratory of another curious thing. In a previous investigation, it was noticed that where the housing conditions were bad or congested, or the parents of depraved morals, the eye-sight of the children was good. It occurred to the Laboratory that the cause was probably the same in both cases that the child spent more time out doors. Bad living conditions tend to drive children out doors, and so do drunken parents.

"The death-rate among the children proved that the abolition of alcohol would not make a difference of one per cent. in the increase of the population. Professor Pearson sums up the result of the investigation by saying that ‘no marked relation of any kind has been found between intelligence, physique or disease of the offspring and parental alcoholism, in any of the cases investigated.'"



LCOHOLIC beverages play so important a part in the life of the soldier that Colonel Charles H. Melville, one of the world's most distinguished military sanitarians—he long served as expert in sanitation to the British War Office—was forced, in a series of campaigns, to investigate the subject at first hand. "Alcohol," we find him saying, in an elaborate work on "Military Hygiene and Sanitation," "can supply energy and therefore might be classed under the true foods. Its true dietetic value does not, however, lie in this direction," adds Colonel Melville, "but in that of assisting the general processes of assimilation and digestion by the physical and mental excitement which it produces, and it is, therefore, rightly placed under the heading of 'stimulants.'"

"Strictly speaking," Colonel Melville declares in a highly interesting chapter on food and dietetics, "alcohol must be looked on as a food, since its combustion in the body produces a certain amount of heat and thus saves for the use of the body an 'isodynamic' quantity of fat or carbohydrate. In actual practice it, however, cannot be used as a food, since in quantities sufficient to produce any substantial supply of energy the effect on the central nervous system would be so great as completely to neutralize any good effects so produced. It occupies, in fact, much the same position qua food in the human body as it does qua fuel outside. A spirit lamp is an extremely convenient lamp if it is required to boil a kettle in a hurry, but an extremely bad one if it is required to light or heat a room. Alcohol is a bad food if it is required to supply energy for a forced march, but an extremely good one when it is necessary to spur a man to make himself comfortable for the night, instead of collapsing into an unrefreshing sleep, unsheltered or unfed.

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Taking up the question of moderate indulgence the author says: "To begin with, no one ever does, as a matter of fact, drink 'alcohol.' The strongest spirits usually consumed consist of about half and half of alcohol and water. Again, no man who habitually or even frequently consumed raw spirits could be described as a moderate drinker. Therefore, in the second place, the average man takes his alcohol diluted with from about 15 to 95 parts of water, in proportion as he drinks the ordinary whiskey-and-soda or some of

the lighter wines or beers. In addition to the water, he adds sugars, coloring matter, bitters and other flavoring matters to the already diluted alcohol. Again, a man who drinks even this diluted and · flavored alcohol to any great extent, on an empty stomach, could not well be called a moderate drinker. Therefore, in the third place, this alcohol already highly diluted and flavored is mixed in the stomach in the enormous majority of cases with solid food of some nature or other. Lastly, the term 'moderate drinker' would not in general be applied to a man who drank spirits, beer or wine at his morning meal or, indeed, who indulged in a glass of the same "in the middle of the morning.' Therefore, in the fourth place, this diluted and flavored alcohol is not consumed before a good half of the day's work is presumably done." Colonel Melville thinks the majority of his readers would recognize as a moderate drinker a man who drank a moderate amount of wine, or spirits and water or beer at his meals, with perhaps a whisky-and-soda after his daily game of polo or what-not, and another as "a night cap" before going to bed, and who was not in the habit of drinking anything at all of this nature before the midday meal.

Accepting the stated definition, Colonel Melville asks if there be any evidence that men who follow such a course of life are worse men physically and morally than the men who abstain altogether? He replies:

"I think not. The description just given would apply to the great majority of educated, active-bodied men in the British Isles, and, in fact, throughout Europe. Sir Victor Horsley produces statistics to show the great difference in mortality between total abstainers and moderate drinkers, and, indeed, these are the strongest arguments he adduced. But I cannot see that there is any assurance that the numbers returned as moderate drinkers do not in fact include a great many people who had no claim to that title. It is but rarely that a man will openly acknowledge to being a drunkard, and I therefore pay the less attention to the statistics of this kind. I will venture an attempt to arrive at the truth in another manner. The proportion of teetotalers amongst the officers of the army is comparatively small; the immense majority are moderate drinkers-in other words, they habitually consume about the amount of alcohol which I have laid down above as being the average standard of that class, and would look on any marked excess above that amount as depriving the individual concerned of

the right to be called a 'moderate drinker.' Probably 75 per cent. consume less than half that amount. Nevertheless in spite of the fact that, though the majority of these men indulge in a habit which, according to Sir Victor Horsley, should have 'a most injurious influence on health and life,' the class to which they belong will compare favorably as regards health, activity, and longevity, with any other in the country, and that in spite of the fact that many of them are handicapped by exposure to trying climates.

"Again, it is often stated that the health of the race is affected by even moderate drinking. Quite apart from the fact that this statement is unsupported by any statistical evidence, it must be remembered that the present living members of the Teutonic and Scandinavian races, which for so many centuries have played a leading, if not the leading, part in the history of the world, are descended from a stock peculiarly addicted to the free consumption of alcohol, and that, speaking for our own race, the British, a hundred years ago drunkenness was rife from the cabinet minister to the coal heaver. Whether the race be degenerated at the present day or not is a matter of opinion."


Dr. Woods Hutchinson, of New York, one of the most eminent physicians of the day, read a paper before the American Public Health Association at Washington, D. C. (1912) that is reproduced in the March (1913) number of the American Journal of Public Health. The article deals with the defective classes, and treats of methods to prevent their increase. Dr. Hutchinson takes a decided stand on the part that alcohol plays in the production of such defectives, and his conclusions are those of a man versed in the subject of which he treats.

"Is it true," asks Dr. Hutchinson, "that we are filling our jails and asylums and homes for dependents, because of the use of alcohol (and disease). The general trend of investigation tends in favor of the view that alcohol is a germ poison, picking out the weak individuals and detecting the weak spots in the community, instead of actually causing them. We can hardly imagine it to be otherwise, when we remember the way our ancestors used to boast of the number of bottles of port they could carry. We would all have been dead long ago if mere alcohol had been sufficient to produce defectiveness."

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