The Changing Body: Health, Nutrition, and Human Development in the Western World Since 1700

Robert W. Fogel (Author) Bernard Harris (Author)
& 1 more
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Humans have become much taller and heavier, and experience healthier and longer lives than ever before in human history. However it is only recently that historians, economists, human biologists and demographers have linked the changing size, shape and capability of the human body to economic and demographic change. This fascinating and groundbreaking book presents an accessible introduction to the field of anthropometric history, surveying the causes and consequences of changes in health and mortality, diet and the disease environment in Europe and the United States since 1700. It examines how we define and measure health and nutrition as well as key issues such as whether increased longevity contributes to greater productivity or, instead, imposes burdens on society through the higher costs of healthcare and pensions. The result is a major contribution to economic and social history with important implications for today's developing world and the health trends of the future.

Product Details

$34.99  $32.19
Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
March 31, 2011
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.8 inches | 0.02 pounds

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About the Author

Robert William Fogel is a Professor of Economics and the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he is Director of the Center for Population Economics. His many published titles include The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100: Europe, America, and the Third World (Cambridge University Press, 2004). He is a Research Associate for the National Bureau for Economic Research, and received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1993.
Bernard Harris is Professor of the History of Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde. His published titles include The Health of the Schoolchild: A History of the School Medical Service in England and Wales (1995) and The Origins of the British Welfare State: State, Society and Welfare in Britain, 1800-1945 (2004).
Sir Roderick Floud is Provost of Gresham College, London. He is editor of The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and has published many books on British economic history including Height, Health and History: Nutritional Status in the United Kingdom, 1750-1980 (with Kenneth Wachter and Annabel Gregory, Cambridge University Press, 1990). He is a Research Associate for the National Bureau for Economic Research, and has received a knighthood for services to higher education.


"[The book] offers an authoritative summary of the field of technophysio evolution." -Science
"The hallmark of the book, however, is its relentless focus on detail (where the devil is) and the gradual building up of the case for the big-think claims." -EH.Net
"Essential." -Choice
"Rich, complex but surprisingly readable, The Changing Body is a paradigm-shifting contribution. A sub-discipline that began modestly by identifying height as a secondary indicator of wellbeing now provides a way to conceptualize economic, indeed human, progress." -Jane Humphries, Oxford University
"The authors of The Changing Body demonstrate the value of anthropometric data and information on health and mortality to the understanding of long-term changes in the economic development of the U.S., England, France, and elsewhere in continental Europe. They provide important new insights into the causes and consequences of economic change in the modern world." -Stanley L. Engerman, John H. Munro Professor of Economics and Professor of History, University of Rochester
"Roderick Floud and Robert Fogel pioneered the study of the links between nutrition, health, and individual productivity in the past. In this book they, and their two colleagues Bernard Harris and Sok Chul Hong, conduct a masterful survey of what has been achieved in this field in the past quarter century, providing persuasive and thought-provoking evidence whose importance has been greatly underrated." -Tony Wrigley, University of Cambridge
"The book, which sums up the work of dozens of researchers on one of the most ambitious projects undertaken in economic history, is sure to renew debates over Mr. Fogel's groundbreaking theories about what some regard as the most significant development in humanity's long history." -Patricia Cohen, New York Times
"The scope of this book is breath taking in its description of the remarkable changes in human constitutions in the Western World over the last 300 years at a pace never seen before in history. Written from a multidisciplinary perspective, it will inform and excite persons in the health and social sciences and give them a new and valuable perspective on modern human development." -Nevin S. Scrimshaw, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and World Food Prize Laureate
"The hallmark of this its relentless focus on detail (where the devil is) and the gradual building up of the case for the big-think claims." -Tomas Cvrcek, EH.Net