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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 28, 2000


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.

JAMA. 2000;283(24):3176. doi:10.1001/jama.283.24.3176

Associated Health Authorities and Sanitarians of

Seventh annual meeting, Mechanicsburg, May 28.

PROF. J. A. BEITZEL, principal of the public schools, spoke on this subject, saying that only recently has it dawned on the people that the trend of the educational forces is too exclusively in the direction of a single order of culture. Every energy has been bent toward the intellectual part, without thought as to the physical. A sound mind in a sound body has not inspired the administration of public school affairs. Laws of health are violated in improper buildings, improper heating, lighting, ventilation, and want of sanitary surroundings, and by taxing the eyes and the mental powers. He alluded to the great care of the ancients in regard to the body of the growing citizen, and said that school hygiene must ever be considered if we want healthy as well as cultured children. There must be proper sites for the building, good drainage, avoidance of bad air, the cesspool should not receive the school drainage; proper ventilation and heating should be secured for the health for the pupils, and overcrowding in the rooms should not be tolerated. All these cause tired nerves, headaches and mental exhaustion. Five hundred children assembled in one room for two hours produce carbonic acid gas equal to the solid charcoal or carbon in twenty pounds of coal. These would give off in that time, vapor equal to four gallons of water, this being laden with impurities from ill-ordered mouths, decaying teeth and the natural waste from the mucous linings of the air-passages. In addition, the skin is continually throwing off waste products even in the case of the cleanliest. Imagine the condition of a child who has not had a bath perhaps for six months; think of the exhalations from such bodies, from the dirty clothing, and the usual wraps in the cloak-room. What a soil for the development and propagation of scarlet fever, diphtheria, etc! Again, we have overheated school-rooms and the children are allowed to rush out into the cold corridors or yards, so it is not strange that quinsy, croup, bronchitis, etc., are prevalent.