Atwater and his colleagues began studying food consumption in the closing years of the nineteenth century and from the very start devoted much effort to collecting data from poor and minority households.
This paper reviews some of the fruits of these labors, particularly from the standpoint of what they contribute toward a better historical understanding of American food habits and nutrition. It surveys dietary data from African American, Appalachian white, Mexican American, native-born poor, and immigrant households.
These data shed light on several areas of historical concern, including rural versus urban nutrition, seasonal hunger, class disparities, and food-habit change.
from: Dirks R. Diet and nutrition in poor and minority communities in the United States 100 years ago. Annu Rev Nutr. 2003;23:81-100. PMID:12626694