The interwar period was a time of comprehensive preventive health programmes in Norway. Physical exercise, nutritious diets, strict sleep regimens and better hygiene were at the centre of these efforts. A massive mobilisation of volunteers and professionals took place. The publication of House Maxims for Mothers and Children was part of this large-scale mobilisation, and consisted of ten posters with pithy health advice for hanging on the wall. Mothers were an important target group for health promotion.
The posters have previously received little attention in medical literature, but they can elucidate some features of life and the health propaganda of their time. We have used databases that provide access to newspapers, books and medical literature: Retriever, bokhylla.no, Oria, PubMed and Web of Science.
It is hard to quantify the effect of this popular movement when compared to political measures to improve living conditions. In any case, mortality rates fell, life expectancy increased and the dreaded communicable diseases were largely defeated. Special efforts were targeted at children, also with good results. Infant mortality fell and schoolchildren became healthier, stronger, taller and cleaner.
The line between social hygiene and general disciplining is blurred, for example the boundary between a healthy diet and bourgeois norms. The education of mothers and children also included a normative aspect that concerned good manners and control.
ErratumIn: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2018 Oct 31;138(19): PMID 30497256
The authors raise a very important problem of anticancer propaganda aimed at the early detection of cancer to be solved nowadays by means of screening and constructive interaction between oncologists and the public. To increase the level of knowledge of the population in this area it is necessary to expand the range of its adequate awareness of tumor diseases. Only joint efforts can limit the destructive effect of cancer on people's minds, so that every person would be responsible for his own health, clearly understanding the advantages of early visit to a doctor. This once again highlights the need of educational work with the public, motivational nature of which allows strengthening the value of screening in the whole complex of measures to fight cancer.
Despite contemporary concerns regarding the state of Canadian children's health, historians in Canada have yet to fully explore how conventional medical experts and educators thought about, and safeguarded, children's health. This paper explores the interplay between two sources of information regarding the provision of healthy children between 1900 and the end of the Second World War in the English Canadian context: curricular messages regarding health and illness aimed at public school children and the oral histories and autobiographies of adults who grew up in this period. Rather than simply juxtapose official health curriculum and lived memory, I argue that the two co-mingled to produce differing kinds of embodied knowledge aimed at the production and reproduction of hegemonic social values in the English Canadian setting. These values co-existed both harmoniously and uncomfortably, depending very much upon the priorities of, and socially constructed limitations placed upon, particular families in particular contexts.
From notations in the literature it has been known that a midwife from a provincial capital in Sweden, Vänersborg, in 1758 applied to Collegium Medicum (The National Board of Health) for support to a textbook in midwifery. It was, however, not published. In 1993 the book was found in an archive. This article describes the content of the book and her struggle to be accepted as a trained midwife by the burghers of the town - as it is described in the records from the municipal court. She wrote her book - 110 questions and answers - for education of the women and traditional midwives in the area. There are three chapters: On the personal qualifications of a midwife and the anatomy of the body; On the normal delivery and On the abnormal delivery. Obviously she has been influenced by the books written by the Swedish obstetrician von Hoorn in 1697 and 1715 but in general an analysis of the text shows that it is also independent from other sources. There are some answers indicating a fairly high level of knowledge, like the advice to dry the child after christening in order to avoid cooling down. Mrs Malhiems book was not accepted by the Collegium Medicum. Nor was she given permission to train midwives or become a provincial midwife for the region. The authorities wanted to retain their central power. Mrs Malhiem herself died as a poor woman in 1795, 79 years old.