If asked to reflect upon the nutrition and health of soldiers during WWI, many people may assume that soldiers were given insufficient amounts of food, forced to fight on the front lines without the proper fuel needed to keep their bodies and minds well-maintained.
Perhaps surprisingly, then, is some interesting information uncovered by Nic Clarke, a professor at the University of Ottawa. His findings reveal that for the most part, Canadian soldiers were relatively well-fed, compared to their nutritional intake before entering the military. Through examinations of the records of 20,000 individuals from the Canadian Expeditionary Force, it has been discovered that soldiers put on an average of 6lbs while in service. Considering the strenuous physical and mental exertions of soldiers, these findings add a new dimension to the study of health during WWI.
Visit The Canadian War Museum‘s website to learn more about farming, food and agriculture during WWI.
Below are some photos from the Canada Food Board that demonstrate the importance of nutrition to the war effort. Even during WWI, citizens at home were encouraged to save more energy-rich foods, such as meat, for the soldiers abroad.