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Ruth Engs

Last modified: Monday, March 3, 2003

New book explores health reform movement in early 20th century

Health reform in America in the early 20th century is explored in a new book by Indiana University faculty member Ruth Engs. The Progressive Era's Health Reform Movement: A Historical Dictionary is published by Praeger.

This is the sixth book on various aspects of addictive behaviors by Engs, professor of applied health science in the IU School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Three years ago she released Clean Living Movements: American Cycles of Health Reform.

"This new health reform book covers from about 1890 to 1920," Engs explained. "It views the central figures, crusades, legislation, publications and terms of the health reform movements, with a detailed timeline to political, social and religious activity."

Engs, an expert on addictive behaviors, said the 419-page book will be of interest to scholars, historians, students and laymen interested in earlier health reform movements. It uses a dictionary format to provide information on the most important issues and topics of the era concerning health reform.

"Religious, political, social and health reform earmarked the Progressive Era," she said. "The era's health reform movement, like today's clean living movement, saw campaigns against alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sexuality. Included were crusades for exercise, vegetarian diets and alternative health care, and concerns about eugenics and new diseases."

For more information, visit Engs' Web site at or contact her at 812-855-9581 or