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ARTICLE |

DOES INFANT WELFARE WORK PRESERVE THE UNFIT?

JAMA. 1927;88(4):247-248. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02680300033015.
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The future of the human race is the theme of lively speculation, with depressing forecasts considerably outnumbering the alluring vistas. A favorite subject for lamentation concerns the alleged deterioration, present and prospective, brought about by measures designed to save human life. In the words of one who considers that mankind stands at the crossroads:

Successful efforts to lower infant mortality will result in a somewhat higher child mortality; nevertheless, lowered death rates of infants and children and young mothers will eventually bring past the reproductive age many weaklings who would otherwise have left no offspring. In other words, increased medical skill and the spread of preventive methods will tend to result in a race weaker naturally than before [E. M. East].

This somewhat jaunty deliverance apparently finds support in certain statistical analyses of infant and child mortality, notably those by Pearson and his colleagues; other analyses are distinctly contradictory.

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