London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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London County Council 1912

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]

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Annual Report of the London County Council, 1912.
There is another point to be noted regarding nutrition. A child 2 cm. and 2 kilograms
below normal is probably better nourished than a child 2 c.m. above normal and 2 kilograms below;
and comparison with the weight of a normal child of that height shows the following differences:—
Boys 8. A —2.7 kilograms. Girls 8. A —2.0 kilograms.
B -2.9„ B -1.6„
C -2.4„ C -2.2„
Boys 12. A —2.4 kilograms. Girls 12. A —1.9 kilograms.
B —1.9„ B —1.9,,
C —1.3„ C —1.8,,
It is found that nutrition in every case is practically identical, and whilst the C schools show
a marked deficiency in growth the comparative nutrition is about the same as the other schools.
Dr. Pinchin suggests that if it is accepted that the ill-fed, underclothed children of the very
poor are not so well nourished as their more fortunate fellows, then the nearer the figures
approximate in the schools of the various classes the more good is being done for the children in
the poorer schools.

The defects of 4,353of the children examined have been tabulated : —

No. Examined.Defects excluding teeth.Teeth.Tonsils and Adenoids.Eyes.Heart Disease.Otitis.Enuresis.Curvature.
Total No 4,35333.
A 1,06631.
B 1,65334.432.815.
C 1,63433.427.

Children who required the attention of a dentist have all been included. Children under
5 years were not included if they only had one or two slightly carious teeth, nor were children who
had loose carious teeth likely shortly to fall naturally.
Class. Infants. Boys 8. Girls 8. Boys 12. Girls 12. Totals in all departments.
A. 39.0% 48.3% 41.2% 31.0% 27.1% 39.0 per cent.
B. 32.8% 44.0% 47.0% 34.0% 27.4% 32.8,,
C. 24.4% 35.4% 30.6% 16.0% 28.5% 27.1,,
The above figures show, as has been pointed out in previous reports, that the teeth of the children
are better in the poorer class schools and in actual inspection this would be far more noticeable, if
account had been taken in the figures of the number of carious teeth per child ; the C schools would
show even better results if this had been done.
This difference has been accounted for by the coarser food eaten by the poorer class children, and
possibly by a smaller supply of sweets. Dr. Pinchin is also of opinion that the cheaper sweets,
i.e., those of the boiled sugar variety, are less detrimental than the better kinds such as chocolates
and caramels, which have far more tendency to cling round the teeth and form a nidus for fermentation.
In the matter of the teeth the school doctor is much handicapped by the attitude of the dentists
who attend this class of patient; and who in most cases, when the children are taken at the school
doctor's request, refuse to remove the carious first teeth even after the six-year-old molars are through.
In most cases this is quite in accord with the parents' view, and this fact renders satisfactory treatment
very difficult. There is, however, Dr. Pinchin reports, great satisfaction in reinspecting the
mouths that have been treated at the Wandsworth Treatment Centre, which does first-rate work
amongst the children whose parents can be persuaded to take them.
The following figures relating to nasal obstruction are mostly made up of tonsils and adenoids
but include a few cases of hypertrophied turbinates and deflected septa.
Totals. A 15.0 per cent.
B 22.1„
C 17.7„
Class. Infants. Boys 8. Girls 8. Boys 12. Girls 12.
A. 23.4% 15.0% 13.1% 10.1% 6.3%
B. 22.1% 17.0% 17.5% 10.0% 10.4%
C. 17.7% 20.9% 15.2% 12.5% 11.9%