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October 27, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(9):618-619. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860430034011

During the later part of the recent war in Europe the Netherlands was known to be one of the German occupied countries suffering severely from malnutrition. Reports reaching the liberated area from still occupied western Holland toward the end of last October attested to the extreme degree of food shortage and starvation existing there. Careful plans were made for a rapid survey of the nutritional status of these people by three teams of Allied nutrition experts promptly following their liberation. Stocks of special foods for treatment of the most desperate situations were imported, and fifty-one Dutch medical feeding units were organized and trained in their use.

The preliminary report on this problem of mass starvation1 indicates the extensive ramifications of prolonged consumption of food at caloric levels of approximately 1,000 calories per day. The people complained of bodily and spiritual exhaustion. Dizziness and a tendency to collapse on prolonged