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Silent VictoriesThe History and Practice of Public Health in Twentieth Century America$
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John W. Ward and Christian Warren

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.001.0001

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The More Things Change: A Historical Perspective on the Debate over Vitamin Advertising in the United States

The More Things Change: A Historical Perspective on the Debate over Vitamin Advertising in the United States

Chapter:
(p.193) 9 The More Things Change: A Historical Perspective on the Debate over Vitamin Advertising in the United States
Source:
Silent Victories
Author(s):

Rima D. Apple

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150698.003.09

Vitamin supplements have been popular from the time the micronutrients were discovered in the early 20th century. Popular news media and advertisements promoted vitamins as crucial for two critical concerns: vitamin supplements insured that the diet contained sufficient quantities of critical micro-nutrients; and vitamins—whether as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in cosmetics—could enhance beauty. While health professionals and medical practitioners recognized the critical value of vitamins, they often saw the growth of the vitamin industry as a threat to the general population's health and well-being. Over the century the themes of beauty and insurance were re-interpreted and reinforced through successive eras, reverberating in the contemporary promotion of the cancer fighting potential and beautifying effects of anti-oxidants.

Keywords:   vitamins, Food and Drug Administration, cosmetics, food supplements, nutrition, rickets, micro-nutrients, Walter H. Eddy, Vitamins Plus, anti-oxidants

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