Height, Health and History: Nutritional Status in the United Kingdom, 1750-1980

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 2, 2006 - History - 380 pages
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In historical accounts of the circumstances of ordinary people's lives, nutrition has been the great unknown. Nearly impossible to measure or assess directly, it has nonetheless been held responsible for the declining mortality rates of the nineteenth century as well as being a major factor in the gap in living standards, morbidity and mortality between rich and poor. The measurement of height is a means of the direct assessment of nutritional status. This important and innovative study uses a wealth of military and philanthropic data to establish the changing heights of Britons during the period of industrialization, and thus establishes an important dimension to the long-standing controversy about living standards during the Industrial Revolution. Sophisticated quantitative analysis enables the authors to present some striking conclusions about the actual physical status of the British people during a period of profound social and economic upheaval, and Height, Health and History will provide an invigorating statistical edge to many debates about the history of the human body itself.

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About the author (2006)

Roderick Floud has taught modern British history in the UK and the USA; his recent research has used information on human height and weight to explore changes in living standards and he is one of the founders of the sub-discipline of anthropometric history, summed up in The Changing Body (Cambridge University Press, 2011) which has been widely praised. He wrote the first textbook of quantitative methods for historians and has edited all four editions of The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain. Roderick has also written extensively on higher education policy and received a knighthood for services to higher education. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Academician of the Social Sciences. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States and is currently Chair of the Social Sciences Committee of the European Science Foundation. He has recently embarked on a new research study of the economic history of British gardening.

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