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Greek public health

Source analysis: Hippocrates on public health

Source A: Programme for health

The care of health begins the moment a man wakes up. After awakening he should not arise at once but should wait until the heaviness of sleep has gone. Then, every day, he should wash his face and eyes using pure water. He should rub his teeth using some fine peppermint powder and taking away any leftover bits of food. He should rub and anoint his head every day but wash it and comb it only occasionally.

After this, people who have to or wish to work will do so, but people of leisure will first take a walk. A young man or middle-aged man should take a walk of about 10 stadia before sunrise. Long walks before meals clear out the body, prepare it for food and give it more power for digesting.

Hippocrates, 'Regimen' (c.500BC)

Source B: Health in summer and winter

In winter, it is best to counteract the cold by eating dry, warming foods such as wheat bread and roast meat. Drink only a little, undiluted wine. Exercise as often as possible. A hot bath is good for you.

In summer, eat smaller amounts of softer, purer food; drink smooth, white, diluted wines. Avoid over-eating and drink a lot. Take lukewarm baths, and take only short strolls after dinner.

Hippocrates, 'A Programme for Health' (c.500BC)

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