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JAMA 100 Years Ago
May 26, 2010


JAMA. 2010;303(20):2089. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.570

The acquisition by the United States of its island possessions and of interests in Panama and Cuba has raised many new problems concerning the health and comfort of the forces of occupation and administration in tropical climates. Among the questions arising has been the one of suitable clothing.

An experiment made in the Philippines among the military forces was the use of orange-red underclothing as a protection against heat, and especially as a preventive of heat exhaustion. This experiment was made following the report of the British officers in India that such clothing was much more comfortable than the white in hot weather. The test clothing was distributed to half the men in each company, the other half wearing white garments of like texture as a control. In all 500 men wore the orange-red underwear, under similar conditions of physique, food and service, and careful records were kept of comparative amounts and nature of sickness among them, their feelings as to comfort or discomfort in the sun, their mental and bodily vigor, etc. The experiments continued for a year and a record of the weights and blood examinations were kept throughout this period.