HL Deb 08 February 1967 vol 279 cc1357-8

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of a recent report that one in six recruits to the Army show signs of rickets, they will consider means of publicising information on dietetics.]


My Lords, the report related to one recruiting centre only, during a period in 1962 to 1964. In general, there is very little evidence of rickets among children or other groups, but the position is being closely watched and the Committee on the Medical Aspects of Food Policy has instituted surveys into the diets of the more vulnerable sections of the community, including expectant mothers and pre-school children. Advice on diet is already widely available through general practitioners, local authorities and other organisations. The Press, especially the women's pages and the women's magazines, and the broadcasting services also, issue a great deal of advice on this subject.


My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that full Answer. Do not Her Majesty's Government consider that more could be done, especially through the schools, to make it known that deficiency and diseases, such as rickets, are not in most cases caused by not eating enough, but by not enough of the right things?


My Lords, the Ministry of Health, for whom I speak here, accept the need for the most effective publicity possible, and they endeavour to assist by giving advice to producers of television and radio programmes, and by providing posters and pamphlets for display in child welfare clinics. The provision of information to schools would be a matter for the Department of Education, and they already see that instruction on diet is included in certain courses. But I should be loth to say that more could not be done, and I will certainly see that the suggestion made by my noble friend is looked into.


My Lords, is there not difficulty in reconciling the Answer which has been given to the noble Lord, Lord Raglan, to-day, with the Answer given to me yesterday?


My Lords, I should not have thought so. What my noble friend said yesterday was that the proportion of schoolchildren who have been found to suffer from deficiencies is a small percentage of the whole. That, I think, is reconcilable with what I have just said.

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