Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Vitamins in verse

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d4887 (Published 03 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4887
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

Do we worry too much or too little about our health? I can never quite make up my mind, but it seems to me probable that there is an inverse anxiety law: those with most to worry about do so least, while those with least to worry about do so most.

To treat each meal as a medical procedure, however, is certainly to go too far in the direction of caution, even if a little bit of what we fancy does us harm. The comic poet and member of parliament (a combination of careers difficult to envisage today) A P Herbert, who was born in 1890 and died in 1971, satirised this tendency in his poem The Vitamins, published in 1930 in his collection …

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