Euthenics

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Euthenics'

Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Euthenics'


Euthenics deals with human improvement through altering external factors such as education and the controllable environment, including the prevention and removal of contagious disease and parasites, environmentalism, education regarding home economics, sanitation, and housing.

The term was derived in the late 19th century from the Greek verb "euthenein": "thrive", "flourish". Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) was one of the first writers to use the term, in The Cost of Shelter (1905), with the meaning "the science of better living".

Euthenics is distinguished from eugenics primarily in that the latter is concerned with the improvement of the human species through the manipulation of genetic inheritance (using various techniques of selective breeding), while euthenics is concerned with uninheritable improvements in human beings at a particular time and place, though this can have genetic consequences. For example, while eugenics would typically deal with the problem of an inheritable disease such as thalassemia by sterilising sufferers, or by limiting their reproductive rights through legislation, euthenics would approach the problem through allocating more resources to screening for the disease and by education, giving sufferers the chance to make informed decisions about whether or not to have children.

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