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Rational thinking

Rationing from the Second World War is used to encourage healthy eating in a new teaching resource aimed at primary and secondary schools.

Sue Bird, a scientist at Aberdeen's Rowett Research Institute, and Lorna Saunders, a teacher at Monymusk Primary, Aberdeenshire, co-wrote RATIONal Food as a means of encouraging a cross-curricular approach to healthy eating, linking history and science. It also draws on archive materials from the institute, such as pre-war food diaries.

The authors were inspired by John Boyd Orr, the institute's founder, who helped improve health in Britain by carrying out research that led to the Second World War rationing system.

Dr Bird hopes the book will help children make informed choices about their own diet, and has consciously steered clear of a preachy approach, which she believes is ineffective. "Instead of just trying to get the message across, we're trying to get them to understand the underlying concepts,"

she said.

"Food rationing was designed to meet the nutritional needs of the average adult, but Boyd Orr realised we were all different, that women had different needs, for example, or that people in physically active jobs had different needs."

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