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Suggested Citation:"Preface." 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.
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Suggested Citation:"Preface." 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.
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Page 4

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PREFACE Witl1 tile fall of France it became apparent to the American people that a program of national defense, leading if necessary to participation in the war, alas imperative if our freedom and democratic way of life was to lie preserved. In keeping with this development, President Roosevelt invoked the National Defense Act of ~9~6 and set up on May ~9, ~940, the National Defense Advisory Commission. Miss Harriet Elliott was appointed a mem- ber of this Commission in charge of the interest of consumers and the welfare of civilians in our defense programs. Miss Elliott recognized that in the light of present day science, human nutrition and problems related to the health side of food were among the more important elements in civilian defense. Shortly after the organiza- tion of the Defense Commission, Miss Elliott did me the honor of asking me to assist her in the fornication of a nutrition program in relation to national defense activities. In a preliminary report to Miss Elliott, emphasis was placed on two aspects: first, the mobilization and use of existing science as a scientific policy foundation for action programs; second, the utilization of existing agencies through coordination of effort rather than the setting up of new agencies. A plait for mobilizing science for defense and war effort was already ifs existence in the National Research Council. In discussing these matters with bliss Elliott, we held that the goal diets that would give each individual Lois daily biochemical nutrition requirements was not only a netter of bio- chemistry and physiology but of food habits as well. Biological science may advance ever so far, but unless we as individuals adjust our food habits to changing biochemical knowledge little happens. Therefore the National Research Council was asked to set up two committees of equal standing, one dealing with the biochemical and physiological side of nutrition, the other dealing with the psychological and cultural pattern a Committee on Food Habits. Both committees have rendered great service to the defense and war food and nutrition program. For at least a third of a century biochemical and physiological research have been directed toward human nutrition and con- sequently there is now a large body of scientific knowledge which can be drawn upon. However, in the social science field but little had been done in the sciences dealing with culture, behavior, and personal traits in relation to food habits. Therefore, to a degree, the.Committee on Food Habits has had a pioneer job. The Committee on Food Habits was asked to draw together existing knowl- edge bearing on food likes and dislikes and the processes of their formulation and change. It was asked to stimulate research in the social sciences in these fields. The Committee was requested to be prepared to give the advice and judgment of social science from the several disciplines, particularly psy

Pref ace chologs and cultural anthropology, with reference to requests glade to it lay the :\ utrition Division of the Office of Defense Health and Welfare Ser- `-ices (whose activities have now been transferred to the War Food Ad- ~inistration, Nutrition and Food Conservation Branch) and with reference to requests blade to it by the various federal agencies with membership in the Federal Interdepartmental Nutrition Coordinating Committee and tl~e State and local nutrition committees when communicated through the proper channels. In my judgment, the Committee on Food Habits has fulfilled its responsi- l~ilit~, and carried out in a most outstanding manner what was expected of it when the original plans were made. The summary of its activities. as con- tained in this report, is ample evidence for the above statement. The first stage of the pioneer period is over. A new science of food habits is developing. This will be a handmaid to, and of equal importance with, the biochemical science of nutrition in efforts for the prevention of disease and facilitating manes progress toward optimum health. The Committee on Food Habits its tl~e understanding guidance of its chairman, Dr. Carl S. Gutless, and with Dr. Margaret Stead, its efficient and imaginative executive secretary, are to lie congratulated for their great contribution to the wartime nutrition pro:,ran~. M. L. WILSON, Chief Nutrition and Food Conservation Erancl Food Distribution Administration War Food Administration

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