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By D. J. Naismith (auth.), John Dobbing DSc, FRCP, FRCPath (eds.)

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And can he envisage advising the avoidance of obesity so as to avoid cancer which is associated with obesity in experimental animals? There are more persuasive reasons. Jarrett: With regard to height, do we have any reliable infonnation regarding the ideal diet for achieving maximum height? Kill [1] studied the records of soldiers' heights in Norway from 1830 to 1937. 236 inches per decade from 1875 to 1937. This was in a fairly homogeneous ethnic group, when breast feeding was, presumably, the nonn, and during a century of considerable change in nutritional habits.

There are certainly many problems that may alter nutrient requirements in old age. A very low energy intake resulting from extreme physical inactivity or from illness might lead to an inadequate total intake of protein, vitamins and minerals. Nutrients may be less efficiently absorbed, but the effect would be difficult to quantify. The use of drugs is known to affect the metabolism of several of the nutrients, specifically the vitamins. If those problems are recognised, then, in individual cases, modification of the diet would be justified.

J Clin Endocrinol Metab 40:367-372 48. Hytten FE (1980) Nutrition. In: Hytten FE, Chamberlain G (eds) Clinical physiology in obstetrics. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 165-192 49. DHSS (1984) Diet and cardiovascular disease. Reports on health and social SUbjects. HMSO, London 50. Belton NR (1985) Infant nutrition 1974-1984: a decade of change. In: Infant physiology and nutrition -the first year. Part I. Gardiner-Caldwell Communications, Macclesfield, pp 9-16 51. DHSS-(1974) Present day practice in infant feeding.

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