Dr Louise Davies 1904 - 2011

Dr Davies was born on the 15th April 1923. In 1941 she won an Exhibition to study dietetics at Kings College of Household and Social Science, London University. Upon graduating in 1944, Davies joined the Public Relations Division of the Ministry of Food as editor of “Food and Nutrition” magazine, a fortnightly publication for dietitian and social science teachers as well as school pupils and their parents. After WW2, she began writing the ‘You and Your Home’ column for the Evening Chronicle and presenting the ‘Help for Housewives’ section for Woman’s Hour on the BBC Home Service for several years. Later, she and later established the morning broadcast “Shopping List”, a consumer programme that ran for 12 years and provided news on seasonal produce, price movements and recipe ideas. Davies has written and contributed to numerous food related books and, in the latter part of her career, specialised in the nutritional needs of the elderly – including the ‘Meals on Wheels’ scheme.

In the late 1960s, Davies established an independent Geriatric Nutrition Research Unit which conducted basic research into the nutrition needs and preferences of the elderly and aimed to bridge the gap between nutrition research and its practical applications for people and their carers. The unit helped to introduce cookery classes for elderly people, conducted longitudinal surveys on nutrition and health before and after retirement, promoted Meals on Wheels in the UK and globally, developed catering in residential homes, formulated an assessment of nutritional risk for health and established international warning signals for malnutrition. Her 1971 Penguin cookery book “Easy Cooking For One or Two” sold over a million copies, thus demonstrating a need for recipes for individuals and those who no longer catered for families or partners. Alongside the phenomenal book sales, Davies was also the first woman to be awarded for her contributions to nutrition.

Davies retired from research in 1988, although she continued to work with IUNS Committee on Nutrition and Ageing, SENECA and HALE (the Healthy Ageing: Longitudinal Study in Europe). She died in 2019, after playing a major role in nutrition and the dissemination of nutritional information to the general public for several decades.