At the Royal Society of Health annual conference, no less a person than the editor of the B.M.A.'s “Family Doctor” publications, speaking of the failure of the anti‐smoking campaign, said we “had to accept that health education did not work”; viewing the difficulties in food hygiene, there are many enthusiasts in public health who must be thinking the same thing. Dr Trevor Weston said people read and believed what the health educationists propounded, but this did not make them change their behaviour. In the early days of its conception, too much was undoubtedly expected from health education. It was one of those plans and schemes, part of the bright, new world which emerged in the heady period which followed the carnage of the Great War; perhaps one form of expressing relief that at long last it was all over. It was a time for rebuilding—housing, nutritional and living standards; as the politicians of the day were saying, you cannot build democracy—hadn't the world just been made “safe for democracy?”—on an empty belly and life in a hovel. People knew little or nothing about health or how to safeguard it; health education seemed right and proper at this time. There were few such conceptions in France which had suffered appalling losses; the poilu who had survived wanted only to return to his fields and womenfolk, satisfied that Marianne would take revenge and exact massive retribution from the Boche!
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