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This paper touches on some of the history of clinical nutrition as published in the pages of ‘Archives of Disease in Childhood’ since January 1926. It neither purports to be a scholarly historical review nor a comprehensive account of this huge field of nutritional science. In fact, the vast majority of important nutritional papers are to be found in publications other than Archives. We have searched through the contents lists and arbitrarily selected 10 references representing most decades over a 90-year period. These give an indication of how the science of clinical nutrition has developed. Many other references might have been cited, but we have chosen ones that span most of the history of the journal. While some are scientifically important investigations, others are merely commentaries or reviews indicating something about the state of knowledge at the time. Earlier publications from an era of relative food poverty focus on nutritional deficiencies. Later on comes the understanding of the importance of effective nutritional support in a wide range of chronic conditions. Parenteral nutrition deserves its own review and has not been included here. This approach, attempting to construct a pleasing picture with only a few randomly selected pieces of jigsaw, might be criticised as fanciful. Although indeed challenging, the intention is no more than an entertaining meander through some of the journal’s distinguished history.
Infant feeding and nutritional deficiency states
Coverage of nutritional deficiency diseases featured prominently from issue 1, where Sir Thomas Barlow opined: ‘The most efficient of all foods in the prevention of rickets in the infant period is admittedly mother's milk, but fresh cow's milk, cream, butter, suet, egg, dripping and animal fats have all to be reckoned with as useful and efficient substitutes under certain limitations’.1 He also remarked on the importance to the infant of good nutrition in …
Contributors HB wrote the first draft and conducted a literature review. Both HB and JWP worked on subsequent drafts and both approved the final version.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.