Historical Events

Thomas describes the health of Eskimos

Health of a carnivorous race. A study of the Eskimo

William A. Thomas, M.D. of Chicago, finding no elevation of blood pressure and rarely any evidence of renal disease in the examination of 142 Eskimos, concluded that a carneous diet under strenuous living conditions does not produce renal or vascular disease.

Thomas found no rickets or scurvy among the Greenland Eskimos, but a large incidence of these diseases among the Labrador Eskimos who live mostly on preserved food including dried potatoes, flour, canned foods, and cereals.

"In view of the present trend of thought away from the former conception of nephritis as a purely renal disease, and bearing in mind particularly the revision of attitude toward the rôle of protein, especially of animal origin, in the production of renal and vascular disease, I considered it worth while to make a cardiovascular and renal survey of a group of people subsisting exclusively on meat. The opportunity presented itself during the MacMillan arctic expedition of 1926, where we were in close contact with the Eskimos of northern Labrador and of Greenland.

Furthermore, since the vitamins have assumed a position of such medical and economic importance, and their sources are as yet not wholly understood, evidences of scurvy and rickets were sought and an examination was made of food sources and of food composition and preparation when these conditions were found."

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