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Bureau of Home Economics

The Last Bureau Chief: Hazel Stiebeling

Strong and alert nations are built by strong and alert people.

Strong and alert people are built by abundant and well-balanced diets.

No nation achieves total strength unless all of its citizens are well fed. To be well fed means more than filling the stomach with foods that appease hunger. It is more than getting the food that barely protects the body from disease due directly to poor diet. It is having each day the kind of food that will promote abounding health and vitality.

--Hazel Stiebeling (1941) Are We Well Fed?: A Report on the Diets of Families in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 430.

Hazel Katherine Stiebeling (1896-1989)

Hazel Katherine Stiebeling was a nutritionist who studied the chemical characteristics of food. Stiebeling held a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia. In 1944, Stiebeling succeeded Louise Stanley as chief of the USDA Bureau of Home Economics. In 1959, she was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Medal given to federal employees.

Stiebeling authored several federal publications during her time at the Bureau. Here is a sample:

 


Diets to Fit the Family Income

Diets to Fit the Family Income (1936)

Farmers' Bulletin. Number 1757

"Family diets may vary considerably in cost and still be satisfactory for good nutrition. They may vary, too, in the type and the quality of foods they contain and still be desirable, provided the assortment is wisely selected. A good diet depends not so much on the amount of money it costs as on the nutritive value of the different foods selected for it. Wise selection among foods is important for every family, but is especially so when the income is limited. The low-income family must be constantly alert to the need of selecting the most nutritious of the inexpensive foods. The family with a generous income is more likely to get a wholesome variety through the free choices it can make, but even in this case intelligent selection makes for a better diet than choosing at random.

How to select food wisely is, then, a problem every homemaker has to solve. To help her, this bulletin discusses in popular terms four diets that differ in food value and in cost. It first compares the cost of the suggested diets, since many families, especially those who live in the city, must be governed in their choice by the amount of money they can spend for food. The cost of the diets as given in these pages is based on retail food prices on the city market. One or another of the four plans will fit almost every family pocketbook. The bulletin discusses food selection from the standpoint of the nutritive value of these diets. And, finally, it suggests weekly market orders and menus typical of the plans for a liberal diet, an adequate diet at moderate cost, an adequate diet at minimum cost, and a restricted diet for emergency use."


Are We Well Fed?: A Report on the Diets of Families in the United States

Are We Well Fed?: A Report on the Diets of Families in the United States (1941)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Miscellaneous Publication Number 430

"WE CAN MEASURE OUR COUNTRY'S FOOD HABITS

The nutritive quality of diets in the United States varies greatly. This is shown by an analysis of family food supplies recently made by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The analysis was based chiefly on facts collected by the Departments of Agriculture and Labor in 1936-37 as part of a large-scale study of our American ways of spending and living at different income levels. This study was made by the two agencies mentioned, in cooperation with the National Resources Planning Board, the Central Statistical Board, and the Work Projects Administration.

Representative nonrelief families, each with a husband and wife, both native-born, cooperated in this study. The families differed widely in income. They lived in various parts of the country. Some lived on farms, some in villages, others in cities.


The method of collecting the information about diets was as follows: A trained worker helped the homemaker make a record of the kinds and quantities of food on hand at the beginning of the study. Each day they weighed the foods brought into the house for family meals and listed the name, age, and work of every person eating from the family larder. After 7 days another inventory was taken of all of the food on hand.

From these data the quantities of each kind of food that the family had during the 1-week period were determined, and the nutritive value of the diet was computed from average figures on food composition. Each family's record was then compared with standards of what would constitute an adequate diet for the persons included in the group."


Family Food Consumption and Dietary Levels: Five Regions

Family Food Consumption and Dietary Levels: Five Regions. Farm Series

Farm Series (1941)

Stiebeling, Hazel K., Monroe, Day Coons, Callie M., Phipard, Esther F., and Clark, Faith. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bureau of Home Economics. Family Economics Division

"Food-consumption patterns of different population groups are of interest not only to families wishing to improve their levels of living and to persons engaged in the production and marketing of food materials, but to all that are concerned with the Nation's broad social and economic problems. Diet can play an important role in the conservation of human resources, and food is a major part of any study of national, regional, or community production and consumption.

Information regarding the diets of farm families living in different parts of the United States was obtained as part of the 1935-36 study of consumer purchases. This report, one in a series for that study as a whole, considers the relationships between income and family composition on the one hand, and the money value of food, both farm- furnished and purchased, programs of food production for household use, and the quantities consumed of different types of food, on the other. This report also discusses the nutritive value of farm family diets and their probable adequacy from the nutritional viewpoint.

The farm families included in this study of consumption were limited to those in which there was a husband and wife, both native- born, and to white families in all regions except the Southeast, where a separate study of Negroes was made. Only those families were included that had not moved during the year covered by the study and that operated the farms they owned or rented (except in the South- east, where special studies were also made of families of sharecroppers. None had received relief during the report year.

The eligibility requirements just mentioned and others, minor in character, served to eliminate from this investigation relatively more of the families with low incomes in each community than of those in the higher income classes. Common observation and special studies of the excluded groups indicate that native-white, unbroken, non- relief families generally are in better circumstances than those groups omitted from this study, i. e., the foreign-born and the broken families, those receiving relief, the one-person and the very large families, Negro families (separate analyses of Negro families were made in the Southeast), farm laborers (sharecroppers, however, were studied separately in the Southeast), and those that had moved during the report year. The differences between the group studied and the total population should be recognized in using the expenditure and consumption data of this volume. (See Methodology, Data from the Consumption Sample (Expenditure Schedules).)

The farm sample studied was obtained from five broad geographic regions — New England, Middle Atlantic and North Central, Plains and Mountain, Pacific, and Southeast. 1 Within these regions farm sections were chosen on the basis of the type of agriculture predominating or widely prevalent. Fourteen types of farming, each important in the Nation's agriculture, were selected for representation.

The farm sections were chosen on a national and regional basis rather than State ; small groups of counties selected because of the importance of a specific type of farming would not necessarily be representative of the major type of agriculture, or of the income received from agriculture, in the State in which they were located."


Family Food Consumption and Dietary Levels: Five Regions

Family Food Consumption and Dietary Levels: Five Regions. Urban and Village Series (1941)

Stiebeling, Hazel K., Monroe, Day Coons, Callie M., Phipard, Esther F., and Clark, Faith. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bureau of Home Economics. Family Economics Division

"Food consumption is a subject of universal and perennial interest. About half of the income of families in the lowest third of the income scale goes for food. Even those in the highest third put more than a fifth of their incomes into this item of the budget. The way food money is spent, the choices that families make, is of much concern to all interested in human welfare; there is a close relationship between dietary adequacy and health. Producers also have an interest in the volume and kind of food eaten by the population. Such facts bear directly on the activities and incomes of farmers, workers in food industries, and persons engaged in transportation and other distributive services.

Information regarding the diets of families living in different parts of the United States was obtained as part of the 1935-36 study of consumer purchases. This report, one in a series for that study as a whole, considers the relationships between income and family composition on the one hand, and the money value of food and the quantities consumed of different types of food, on the other, among families in 140 villages and 20 small cities. Another report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (U. S. Bur. Labor Statis. Bui. 648, Tech. Ser. Vol. II, Food) presents comparable tabular data for families living in 9 small cities, 14 middle-sized cities, 6 large cities, and 2 metropolitan areas. The present volume by the Bureau of Home Economics affords information also on the nutritive value and adequacy of diets of families living in villages and in cities of differing size — small, middle-sized, and large. (The data from large and middle-sized cities and from 10 of the 29 small cities are from food records collected in the field by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and kindly put at the disposal of the Bureau of Home Economics for editing, tabulation, and analysis.) Information on food consumption and dietary levels of farm families may be found in another report of this series (U. S. Dept. Agr., Misc. Pub. 405, Family Food Consumption and Dietary Levels, Farm Series).

All of the families asked to cooperate in the study of consumer purchases included a husband and wife, both native-born. Only white families were studied except in the Southeast, and in New York City and Columbus, Ohio, where a separate study of Negroes also was made. Only those families were included in which the husband and wife had been married at least a year and had kept house in the com-munity studied for at least 9 months of the report year. None had had the equivalent of more than one roomer and/or boarder for 52 weeks of the report year, and none had received relief during that period.

The eligibility requirements just mentioned, and others, minor in character, served to eliminate from this study relatively more of the families with low incomes in each community than of those in the higher income classes. Common observation and special studies of the excluded groups indicate that the groups studied — the native-white, unbroken, nonrelief families — generally are in better circumstances than those omitted from the study — the foreign-born and the broken families, those receiving relief, the one-person families, the very large families, and Negro families (included in the Southeast). The differences between the groups studied and the total population should be recognized in using the expenditure and consumption data of this volume. (See Methodology and Appraisal, Applicability of Data from the Consumption Sample.)

The villages and small cities included in the study are situated in five broad geographic regions — -the New England, the Middle Atlantic and North Central, the Plains and Mountain, the Pacific, and the Southeast. 1 Within these regions the villages chosen are closely associated with the counties selected for the study of farm families. They are located either in the same or in nearby counties where agricultural conditions were similar. Each group of small cities selected was chosen to be representative of some of the outstanding characteristics of the area; for example, the group might include one with a State university or college ; one that was an important marketing center for an agricultural area ; and one that was an active industrial city. Economic activities, cultural patterns, proportion of native-white families in the population, and relationship to other cities within the region were among the factors considered in selecting specific cities for this study. Figure 1 shows the geographic location of the communities surveyed in this study by the Bureau of Home Economics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics."


Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Home Economics

Report of the Chief of the Bureau of Home Economics (1948)

Stiebeling, Hazel K.

"The Bureau of Human Nutrition and Home Economics completed on June 30, 1948, its first quarter century of research on behalf of the Nation's homemakers.

In June 1923 the Secretary of Agriculture announced that 'pursuant to provisions contained in the Agricultural Appropriations Act for the fiscal year 1924' the Office of Home Economics would become the Bureau of Home Economics on July 1, 1923. Eight leaders in home economics whom he had invited to help plan the organization of the new agency recommended the following divisions of work : Food and nutrition, clothing and textiles, economics (including household management), housing and equipment, home relations, art in the home. The research program of the Bureau today is concerned primarily with the first four of these fields."