BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6988.1214 (Published 06 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1214

In the United States poverty excludes an estimated seven million people from medical care. Asked why they had not received treatment they believed they needed (American Journal of Public Health 1995;85:341-4) two thirds of the poor gave as their answers high costs or lack of insurance. In this population of seven million poor one third of the children aged 2-5 years were inadequately immunised and one flfth of their mothers had had no cervical smear in the previous four years.

Research in India reported in the “Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery” (1995;77B:254-7) has shown that flat foot is rare in adults who did not wear shoes as children. The first six years of life seem crucial: children who go barefoot until the age of 6 seem to keep healthy feet for the rest of their lives (unless, presumably, they start to wear Western high heels).

Some traditional remedies and cosmetics contain high concentrations of lead. Five patients seen in seven years in the West Midlands (Human and Experimental Toxicology 1995;14:24-8) were found to have symptoms of lead poisoning traced eventually to the use of traditional remedies. Analysis of some of these remedies …

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