Goods essential to health were distributed more fairly
Prices for food and other essential items, such as blankets, were pegged at a standard rate, so the poor could afford to buy them. During the war years, rich and poor people were eating almost the same diet. More
In Britain, eating habits improved
The poor ate better than they had in peacetime. This was because of full employment, government encouragement to eat healthily, vitamin-rich foods and the fairness of the rationing system. More
Rationing meant people ate a balanced diet, with extra vegetables to fill up.
Some of the more unhealthy foods, such as white bread and sugar, were removed or much reduced in the diet, making everyone healthier. More
Distribution of food was based on need.
Manual workers and children got different rations. Fewer mothers died in pregnancy than before the war, as pregnant women were given milk and orange juice to improve their health. More
Children's health also improved.
The minister for food, Lord Woolton,, made sure that every British child got daily milk, cod-liver oil and orange juice, to boost vitamin intake. Free school meals were also given to children of poorer families. More
Evacuation brought to light hidden poverty.
The evacuation of children from inner cities made people more aware of the poverty in some areas and improved the health chances of many children. For the first time, many middle class people saw children in poor clothing with diseases which were caused by malnutrition or by the cramped, dirty conditions in which they had lived. More
British Restaurants were set up by Local Authorities
The aim was to make sure that people were properly fed. At British restaurants people could get a meal at a reasonable cost. Minced beef with carrots and parsnips was a typical dish. More
The ministry of food filled newspapers with food facts and advice.
This was aimed at keeping people healthy and at helping them to make the most of food that was not rationed, particularly vegetables. More
People were generally slimmer with less tooth decay.
Less sugar and fewer sweet snacks saw a fall in tooth decay. The population as a whole also became slimmer. More
Most people got plenty of exercise.
With petrol shortages, people walked further than many people do today. The range of jobs that people undertook, to help the war effort, also often required more exercise than office based jobs today. More
There were more accidents (trips and falls) in the Blackout.
The 'Blackout' (in which lights from buildings were not allowed to show and street lamps were not switched on), caused many accidents until people got used to the dark. Poor ventilation, caused by covering windows, led to more coughs and throat infections. More
During the war, some important medical advances were made.
The most famous was the use of antibiotics, particuarly penicillin, in the treatment of patients. This was first used on wounded servicemen but, by the end of the war, the use of antibiotics had spread to civilians. More
The bombing caused health effects such as loss of sleep and fear.
The bombing of civilians was meant to break the will of the people. People were afraid (especially in the early days). There were many civilian casualties. However, people carried on working and supporting each other, and the collapse which the enemy expected never happened. More
The war saw the loss of many lives.
Estimates put the total death toll world wide between 50-70 million people, including civilians as well as soldiers and those who died in the Holocaust. More