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The Growing Child (1938)


This government-produced public health film promotes the role of correct diet and nutrition in giving children the best start in life. It depicts dramatised scenarios in the lifespan of a growing child – from baby to toddler, adolescent and teenager – and offers health tips and dietary advice from such experts as a matron in a baby health centre and a family doctor.

Curator’s notes

The health message presented in this film – that adequate nutrition and proper diet are vital to a child’s health and development – is still valid. What has changed in the last 70 years is how the message is delivered. Rather than highlight the dire consequences of not following government health advice (the current trend in public health education), this short film positively reinforces correct behaviour. Each scenario includes advice about a different stage in the child’s development. Finally, to summarise the main points, the film’s doctor gives a public lecture, delivering a direct message to the audience both on screen and in the cinema watching the film.