Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Foods and Nutrition

Committee Chair(s)

Ethelwyn B. Wilcox


Ethelwyn B. Wilcox


Diseases which in the sixteenth century were found to be related to a deficiency of some substance in the natural foods consumed in the diet were later known as deficiency diseases. As early as 1881, Lunin found that rats could not live on a purified diet of carbohydrate, fat, protein and minerals, but could exist on a diet supplemented with certain natural foods. These findings were found to be in agreement with records of early descriptions of deficiency diseases. Scurvy was recognized very early in voyages made across oceans where ships had no means of being re-provisioned. Progress was very slow in determining the cause of this dread sickness.

In 1535, Jacques Cartier's seamen had an epidemic of scurvy. The Indians of the surrounding country gave him a drink made of evergreen leaves and bark. The rapid recovery of the seamen was considered miraculous. It has been stated (Beeuwkes 1948) that scurvy did not occur until the advent of sailing ships and subsequent long voyages. Prevalence of scurvy was found in direct proportion to the length of time the vessel was on the ocean. When it was recognized that lack of fresh fruits and vegetables caused the disease, various countries made regulations requiring the sailing vessels to carry a supply of them. Holst and Frolick confirmed experimentally the dietary origin of the disease in 1907 (Hawk, et al. 1949).

Ascorbic acid was not isolated until 1932 when King and Waugh announced the isolation of hexuronic acid from lemons (Wohl 1945) which were active in preventing or curing scurvy. The name "ascorbic acid" was given by Szent-Gyorgyi and Hayworth.

Since the time of its isolation, ascorbic acid has been studied a great deal. In recent years it has been found to be related to resistance to disease. The requirement has been reported to be higher in Hodgkin's disease, protracted fevers, active rheumatic heart disease, and tuberculosis.

The purpose of this study was to find what relationship may exist between serum ascorbic acid and blood glucose to the rheumatic fever state in Utah and to the incidence of dental caries in three areas of Idaho, each of which has a different fluoride content of water.

A nutritional status study was made on information collected as part of the Western Regional Research Project on the Nutritional Status of Population Groups. It's purpose was to determine the relationships between diet and physical well-being and dental health of normal children and also those having rheumatic fever in the Ogden, Utah, area. The second part of the study included normal children in three areas of Idaho, each of which has a different fluoride content of the water supply. The following tests were made on the blood and urine samples of the five groups of children and the parents of some of the children who had rheumatic fever: urine analyses for albumin and sugar; blood analyses for hemoglobin, hematocrit, white and red cell count, sedimentation rate, blood smears and glucose, and serum analyses for ascorbic acid, riboflavin, cholesterol, vitamin A, carotene, alkaline phosphatase, iron and copper. Also obtained on these groups were seven-day diet records, dietary history, medical history and examination, dental examination, and dental and bone X-rays.

This study included only the ascorbic acid and blood glucose values. Correlations between these findings and the diet records and/or other constituents of the blood will be presented in later papers.



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