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

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London County Council 1934

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

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houses, in almost chronic destitution, the mothers often being the bread-winners and
the fathers out of work. At the medical inspection a list was recommended to the
school care committee as suitable for extra meals of milk and cod-liver oil. Of 91
children who had been assessed as " nutrition 4," i.e., definite malnutrition, who had
been placed on milk, only 9 were so assessed at the end of the year.
Thus commenced a practice which proved of great importance. It rapidly
spread from school to school in London and became a recognised part of the
Council's measures for combating ill-nourishment in school children. Later the
example of London was followed by many of the provincial authorities.
Under the Milk Act, 1934, the scheme of the Milk Marketing Board was introduced
for the supply of milk at reduced prices to all children attending school in
October, 1934. Particulars of the scheme so far as it affects London are given
later in this section.
The number of official milk meals supplied in elementary schools by the
Council in 1933-34 was nearly 4¾ millions, of which rather more than 2½ millions
were paid for out of the rates. The price now charged to parents in a position to pay
for the official milk meals is that fixed under the Milk Marketing Board Scheme,
viz. id. for one-third pint bottle.
The numbers of individual children receiving each type of meal were as

Table 27.

Meal.May, 1934 (21 school days).November, 1934 (22 school days).December, 1934 (14 school days).
For payment.Free.For payment.Free.For payment.Free.
Cod-liver oil and malt3,2722,1363,0282,2343,0142,190

The monthly averages of individual children fed for the calendar year, 1934,
were: for payment, 16,214 ; free 20,686. The numbers of individual children fed
in December, 1933, were:—

Table 28.

Meal.On payment.Free.
Cod-liver oil and malt3,8162,094

There was thus a decrease of 14.3 per cent, in children on dinners, an increase
of 5.9 per cent, in those on milk and a decrease of 11.9 per cent, in those on oil and
malt in December, 1934, compared with the number in December, 1933.
The children who are given milk in school on the advice of the school doctor
are kept under very close observation. They are all children whose nutritional
state gives, or has given, some cause for anxiety. Notes on the improvement of
such children are given in Dr. Francklyn's report on page 85.
In the north-eastern division, Dr. Chaikin has given very close attention to
the following up of the children on "official" milk, and he has supplied a very detailed
statistical report on the results of the re-inspections of the children during 1934,
from which the following summary is compiled. Records of 5,849 current cases
were available for analysis, comprising 2,977 boys and 2,872 girls.
Dr. Chaikin's
report on
children on