A Catechism of Health
William Fordyce Mavor (1758-1837)
The catechism of health (New-York: Published by Samuel Wood & Sons, 1819)
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William Fordyce Mavor, a farmer’s son, was educated in Latin, worked as a tutor, and was ordained a clergyman in the Church of England. He wrote numerous popular textbooks and is best known for the English Spelling Book, first published in 1801.
Mavor’s Catechism of Health includes information for children on all aspects of wellness. His section on food and drink seems to draw largely on William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine. Mavor advises that food should be cooked simply, and that meals should always have a large percentage of vegetables, in addition to meat and grains. He calls water the most healthful drink, and warns children against consuming wine, beer, tea, or coffee before they are fully grown. Unlike most physicians of his time, Mavor is wary of milk: he notes that it disagrees with many people.