Silent witnesses: Child health and well-being in England and Australia and the health transition 1870-1940

McCalman, Janet
June 2009
Health Sociology Review;Jun2009, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p25
Academic Journal
This study explores the 'black box' of changes in both the macro and micro - the societal and domestic - environment that transformed the health and well-being of children in England and Australia between 1870 and 1940. It argues that in addition to the control of environmental hazards and improved medical care, changes in family life made possible by the decline in the informal economy of casual work, provided the domestic security that enabled the major improvements in child health measures before immunisation and antibiotics. The golden age of childhood came after World War II, with the relief of peace and unparalleled stability in marriages and home making. Since the 1970s, however, capitalist societies have succumbed to a pursuit of affluence and individualism that has had profound psychic and physical effects and aggravated inequality and discontent: the obesity epidemic is the embodiment of that transformation.


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