November 7, 1908


JAMA. 1908;LI(19):1604. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02540190042008

Considerable discussion—not a little being sensational —has appeared recently in the newspapers on the question of underfed school children, mainly aroused by the reports of sanitary inspectors that large numbers go breakfastless to school. The first remedy that occurs to many zealous social reformers is to supply free meals, the assumption being that the conditions are due to poverty. Without doubt, in a great city, there are always some children who go hungry to school, on account of actual lack of food; in this country, however, we believe they are few and far between. Such should be cared for by the proper charitable agencies, and not through the school. Looking at the subject from a purely medical point of view, poverty is not the cause in more than an extremely small minority of the cases of those who go breakfastless. Every physician is aware of the capricious morning appetites of

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