The commission hoped "that the facts and opinions they have collected will have some effect in allaying the apprehensions of those who, as it appears, on insufficient grounds, have made up their minds that progressive deterioration is to be found among people generally." In regard to the facts which started the fear, the report says: (1) the evidence adduced in the director general's memorandum was inadequate to prove that physical deterioration had affected the classes referred to; (2) no sufficient material (statistical or other) is at present available to warrant any definite conclusions on the question of the physique of the people by comparison with data obtained in past times.
The Best Inheritance Is A Mother Who Knows How To Keep Her Baby Well
The topics dealt with in the report refer to only a partial list of conditions that need to be carefully studied before we can know what environment heredity we are preparing for those who follow us:
I. As to Babies
Training of mothers, provident societies and maternity funds, feeding of infants, milk supply, milk depots, sterilization and refrigeration of milk, effect of mother's employment upon infant mortality, still births, cookery, hygiene and domestic economy, public nurseries, crèches.
II. As to Children
Anthropometric measurements, sickness and open spaces, medical examination of school children, teeth, eyes, and ears, games and exercises for school children, open spaces and gymnastic apparatus, physical exercise for growing girls and growing boys, clubs and cadet corps, feeding of elementary school children, partial exemption from school, special schools for "retarded" children, special magistrate for juvenile cases, juvenile smoking, organization of existing agencies for the welfare of lads and girls, education, school attendance in rural districts, defective children.
III. As to Living and Working Conditions
Register of sickness, medical certificates as to causes of death, overcrowding, building and open spaces, register of owners of buildings, unsanitary and overcrowded house property, rural housing, workshops, coal mines, etc., medical inspection of factories, employment of women in factories, labor colonies, overfatigue, food and cooking, cooking grates, adulteration, smoke pollution, alcohol, syphilis, insanity.
IV. As to Health Machinery
Medical officers of health, local, district, and national boards, health associations.
Scientists of the next generation will continue to differ as to heredity truths and heredity bugaboos unless records are kept now, showing the physical condition of school children and of applicants for work certificates and for civil service and army positions. The British investigators declared that "anthropometric records are the only accredited tests available, and, if collected on a sufficient scale, they would constitute the supreme criterion of physical deterioration, or the reverse.... The school population and the classes coming under the administration of the Factory Acts offer ready material for the immediate application of such tests." In addition to the physical tests proposed in other chapters, there is great educational opportunity in the records of private and public hospitals. Every nation, every state, and every city should enlist all its educational and scientific forces to ascertain in what respects social efficiency is endangered by physical deficiencies that can be avoided only by restricting parenthood, and the environmental deficiencies that can be avoided by efficient health machinery.
The greatest of all heredity truths are these: (1) the deficiencies of infants are infinitesimal compared with the deficiencies of the world with which we surround them; (2) each of us can have a part in begetting for posterity an environment of health and of opportunity.