Contents - Previous - Next

This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at

Book review

Prevention in childhood of health problems in adult life.


Prevention in childhood of health problems in adult life.

Edited by Frank Falkner. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1980. 135 pp.

This small volume has been skillfully edited by Dr. Falkner into a concise overview of the demonstrable relationships between a number of health problems of early life and their possible consequences for the adult. Most importantly, the material is presented in the context of the potential of timely adequate therapeutic and prophylactic measures to provide an effective means of preventing or attenuating a wide variety of adult diseases and disorders.

The book was developed almost as an epilogue to positions expressed by the WHO Division of Family Health during the 1979 International Year of the Child. It comprises nine chapters, whose contents are applicable to both the developed and developing nations. Presentations by outstanding authorities encompass the following areas: perinatal diseases and injuries; malnutrition, including early protein-energy malnutrition; over nutrition and obesity, with special reference to the social aspects; the prevention in childhood of major cardiovascular diseases; infections affecting the foetus; sequelae of infectious diseases in childhood; oral health; and mental health.

These bring into one place discussion of a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders, constituting a major portion of the world's health problems, on which good maternal, infant, and child care-medically, nutritionally, and psycho-socially-may have both an immediate and a long-term impact. The importance of such care lies in its dual effect of correcting the problem per se at an early age and of facilitating, by the prevention of sequelae, the individual's achieving his or her potential for growth, development, and function in later life.

The book should be invaluable to both students and professionals in a wide variety of health disciplines as well as to those responsible for policy and integrated planning for lifetime health-are programmes. As such, it makes a major contribution to the international efforts to attain the WHO goal of "Health for all by the year 2000."

CORRECTION: Status of the World Food Programme

Food and Nutrition Bulletin, vol. 3, no. 2 (April 1981), p, 31

In the article "A Personal Overview of the Role and Co-ordination of United Nations Agancias in Food and Nutrition," the World Food Programme (WFP) was characterized as "a semiautonomous extension of the FAO." It has been pointed out that this is misleading, The WFP has a governing body with sovereign powers to adjudicate over its affairs. It does, however, rely on the technical competence of the FAO, the UNU, and the specialized agencies. As a resources programme, such as the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, the WFP is the major food-aid agency of the international system and has utilized food aid in supporting development activities in almost all sectors as well as relieving hunger and meeting emergency food needs in the developing world.

Contents - Previous - Next