MAY 7, 1943
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday morning Madame Chiang left us, and in the afternoon the President of Bolivia arrived. The Cabinet received with us on the lawn, and then we had tea on the South Portico.
I have begun to breakfast on the porch every morning and to have tea there every afternoon, but I am not quite sure that my desire to be out of doors does not outrun the season a little, for I notice that everybody else shivers!
Washington is a funny place. You jump from really cold weather into mid-summer weather. From wondering whether it is warm enough to eat out of doors, you suddenly find it is too hot at noon even to sit on the porch.
The President gave a stag dinner for our South American guest last night, and so Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and I had dinner together. Then I went to speak on the radio program put on by the National Safety Council, which is trying to bring home to all that accidents which occur in the home should be prevented as a patriotic duty.
I had really not given it much thought until I read the statistics and discovered that one of my husband's pet remarks about many people dying in the process of taking a bath, is not a joke but a reality. We are all becoming more and more conscious of the fact that we have an obligation in wartime to keep ourselves well. This does not apply only to accidents, it applies to the general daily care and routine of life, because we know more and more the value of prevention rather than cure.
As we think back, it is quite interesting to note how our whole attitude toward health and the place of medical science is gradually changing. We used to think that the science of medicine was chiefly useful to cure the human ills and our public health service was largely devoted to the prevention of great epidemics.
Now I think we realize the science of medicine should find ways of building up resistance in human beings and of keeping them well, in order that they may not succumb to many of the dangers which surround them. On the other hand, we believe that the discoveries of medical science should remove many of the reasons which used to bring about epidemics and illness of various kinds, and so we gradually want to eliminate the need of the doctor and the nurse to take care of acute disaster and increase the usefulness of the research worker and the doctor and the nurse to use science to keep people well.
I have just received the outline of some nutrition courses which are being given to school teachers in Berkeley, California. This type of teaching may become one of the methods leading to better health in the future.