By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Dr. Nevin S. Scrimshaw, a nutritionist who improved the health of millions of children in developing countries by creating low-cost vegetable-based foods for weaning infants, died on Friday in Plymouth, N.H. He was 95.
To help protein-starved children in Central America, Dr. Scrimshaw created a gruel made of corn, sorghum and cottonseed flour that was nutritionally equivalent to milk. In India, he adapted the same principle to peanut flour and wheat. He then brought both products to market, where they sold for only pennies.
Working in Central America, Dr. Scrimshaw also helped eliminate endemic goiter in children — a swelling of the thyroid gland that can lead to mental retardation, deafness and dwarfism. The ailment is caused by a mother’s iodine deficiency.
Dr. Scrimshaw found that European and American techniques to iodize salt were ineffective with the crude, moist salt of Central America, so he came up with a new iodine compound that proved effective there. He then worked with governments in the region to require iodation of all salt for human consumption.
Good man, cool name.