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January 23, 1937

Foreign Letters

JAMA. 1937;108(4):308-314. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780040058018

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Abstract

LONDON  (From Our Regular Correspondent)Dec. 19, 1936.

Social Service and the Weaklings  In the long letter to the Times, Lord Dawson has gone to the root of the problem of national health in its politicomedical aspects. He points out that years ago nature's method of selecting the fit was a high birth rate and high infant and adult death rates. Formerly weaklings in body and mind sank to a low economic level, lived precariously and were prone to elimination by diseases such as tuberculosis. Today, through our social services, they receive maintenance and increasing protection from the ravages of disease. The mortality from tuberculosis has been halved in the last twenty-five years. Further, these weaklings often propagate to the disadvantage of the race. This nugatory rendering of nature's rough method of elimination necessitates an alternative policy, which we have not thought out. It should comprise (1) plans to promote

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