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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Mar;6(3):1235-53. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6031235. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

How the mid-Victorians worked, ate and died.

Author information

1
School of Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, UK. paulrclayton@gmail.com

Abstract

Analysis of the mid-Victorian period in the U.K. reveals that life expectancy at age 5 was as good or better than exists today, and the incidence of degenerative disease was 10% of ours. Their levels of physical activity and hence calorific intakes were approximately twice ours. They had relatively little access to alcohol and tobacco; and due to their correspondingly high intake of fruits, whole grains, oily fish and vegetables, they consumed levels of micro- and phytonutrients at approximately ten times the levels considered normal today. This paper relates the nutritional status of the mid-Victorians to their freedom from degenerative disease; and extrapolates recommendations for the cost-effective improvement of public health today.

KEYWORDS:

Public health; Victorian; degenerative disease; dietary shift

PMID:
19440443
PMCID:
PMC2672390
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph6031235
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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