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

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West Ham 1947

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for West Ham]

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School Medical Officer, who presents the following report of
his findings after the children had come back:—
REPORT ON CHILDREN FOLLOWING THEIR STAY
IN SWITZERLAND
The 41 children who have had three months' stay in
Switzerland were re-examined on their return, and the following
report embodies the salient features:—
The party consisted of 41 children—21 boys and 20 girls.
Included in these numbers were 8 boys and 6 girls who were in
residence at the Fyfield Open-Air School.
(1) General Appearance. All the children looked well.
They had a particularly bright appearance and were all
bronzed, some markedly so.
(2) General Condition. The children were very fit.
One boy had an abrasion of the ankle, due to a wheelbarrow
running into him just before he left Switzerland; one
girl had a type of nettlerash, due to some food upset. Apart
from these minor conditions, the children were in splendid
condition. They were very active and talked a great deal
about their experiences, not least about the food they had
had. Almost all had facilities for bathing, and it is interesting
to note that quite a number learnt to swim for the
first time. One boy was very pleased to tell me that
before he went to Switzerland he could not swim, but now
he can swim two lengths at the baths.
(3) Growth. Taking all the children together, the
average gain in weight was 4 lbs.—boys 2.5 lbs. and girls
5.6 lbs. It should be mentioned that the average age of
the children was 10¼ years, and at this period girls put
on more weight than boys. The average gain in weight
in a year from the age of 10 to 11 years is, in the case of
a boy, 4J lbs., and in the case of a girl, 6 lbs., so it will
be seen how well the children have done. At this stage it
will be interesting to compare the growth of the Fyfield
children with the growth of the remaining children.

The following table shows at a glance the comparison:—

Fyfield BoysChildren (14) GirlsRemaining BoysChildren (27) Girls
Average gain in weight 2 lbs.2.2 lbs.3 lbs.7.lbs.
Average gain in height .95 ins..8 ins..9 ins.1.4 ins.
Greatest gain in weight 6.4 lbs.7.2 lbs.6 lbs.12 lbs.
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It will be seen that the children from Fyfield, from the
point of view of putting on weight, have not done as well
as' the remaining children. The explanation here is that
the Fyfield children had reached, or almost reached, the
limit of improvement for the time being. They had been
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