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January 9, 1937

Foreign Letters

JAMA. 1937;108(2):128-133. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780020046017

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Abstract

LONDON  (From Our Regular Correspondent)Nov. 28, 1936.

The National Physique  In the house of lords an important debate took place on the national physique, in which the two medical peers took part. Lord Dawson said that the question transcended all political and social divisions. Britain was not a deteriorating nation, but in our midst there were seeds of deterioration which might quickly be multiplied. The average boy and girl today were taller and heavier than those of former generations, but mere bulk of frame was not evidence of fitness. We were now reaping not only the advantages of medical science and social services but also the disadvantages. A high birth rate and a high death rate brought about a substantial elimination of weaklings. Now that the death rate was falling steadily, nature's method had been rendered nugatory. Weaklings were not eliminated to anything like the same extent. They were

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