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In 1947, a concerted study of the nutritional status of selected population groups was initiated in the western region of the United States. Previous dietary surveys had indicated that substantial portions of the country's population were consuming lower than recommended levels of essential nutrients. Deficiency diseases that may have nutritional background, such as dental caries, anemia, and rickets, existed. Investigators reported subclinical signs of malnutrition in several areas. Few studies had been made in the West, although reports of high incidence of dental caries and suspected undernutrition had come from several western states. The regional committee thought it evident that the presence of endemic nutritional deficiencies, imbalances, and excesses should be investigated within the western region, and their causes in environmental factors or food habits should be studied. Such conditions might be widespread and cross state lines. Hence the regional approach was appropriate.



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