A Handbook of Health

Woods Hutchinson
A Handbook of Health, by
Woods Hutchinson

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Title: A Handbook of Health
Author: Woods Hutchinson

Release Date: January 5, 2007 [eBook #20294]
Language: English
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The Woods Hutchinson Health Series
Sometime Professor of Anatomy, University of Iowa; Professor of
Comparative Pathology and Methods of Science Teaching, University
of Buffalo; Lecturer, London Medical Graduates' College and
University of London; and State Health Officer of Oregon. Author of
"Preventable Diseases," "Conquest of Consumption," "Instinct and
Health," etc.

Houghton Mifflin Company Boston New York Chicago Copyright,
1911, by Woods Hutchinson All Rights Reserved Tenth Impression

Looking upon the human body from the physical point of view as the
most perfect, most ingeniously economical, and most beautiful of
living machines, the author has attempted to write a little handbook of
practical instruction for the running of it.
And seeing that, like other machines, it derives the whole of its energy
from its fuel, the subject of foods--their properties, uses, and methods
of preparation--has been gone into with unusual care. An adequate
supply of clean-burning food-fuel for the human engine is so absolutely

fundamental both for health and for efficiency--we are so literally what
we have eaten--that to be well fed is in very fact two-thirds of the battle
of life from a physiological point of view. The whole discussion is in
accord with the aim, kept in view throughout the book, of making its
suggestion and advice positive instead of negative, pointing out that, in
the language of the old swordsman, "attack is the best defense." If we
actively do those things that make for health and efficiency, and which,
for the most part, are attractive and agreeable to our natural instincts
and unspoiled tastes,--such as exercising in the open air, eating three
square meals a day of real food, getting nine or ten hours of
undisturbed sleep, taking plenty of fresh air and cold water both inside
and out,--this will of itself carry us safely past all the forbidden side
paths without the need of so much as a glance at the "Don't" and "Must
not" with which it has been the custom to border and fence in the path
of right living.
On the other hand, while fully alive to the undesirability, and indeed
wickedness, of putting ideas of dread and suffering into children's
minds unnecessarily, yet so much of the misery in the world is due to
ignorance, and could have been avoided if knowledge of the simplest
character had been given at the proper time, that it has been thought
best to set forth the facts as to the causation and nature of the
commonest diseases, and the methods by which they may be avoided.
This is peculiarly necessary from the fact that most of the gravest
enemies of mankind have come into existence within a comparatively
recent period of the history of life,--only since the beginning of
civilization, in fact,--so that we have as yet developed no natural
instincts for their avoidance.
Nor do we admit that we are adding anything to the stock of fears in the
minds of children--the nurse-maid and the bad boys in the next alley
have been ahead of us in this respect. The child-mind is too often
already filled with fears and superstitions of every sort, passed down
from antiquity. Modern sanitarians have been accused of merely
substituting one fear for another in the mind of the child--bacilli instead
of bogies. But, even if this be true, there are profound and practical
differences between the two terrors. One is real, and the other

imaginary. A child cannot avoid meeting a bacillus; he will never
actually make the acquaintance of a bogie. Children, like savages and
ignorant adults, believe and invent and retail among themselves the
most extraordinary and grotesque theories about the structure and
functions of their bodies, the nature and causation of their illnesses and
aches and pains. A plain and straightforward statement of the actual
facts about these things not only will not shock or repel them, or make
them old before their time, but, on
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