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JAMA 100 Years Ago
December 12, 2007


JAMA. 2007;298(22):2687. doi:10.1001/jama.298.22.2687

Perhaps the most significant feature of medical progress in the last century has been the development of preventive medicine which has made possible the elimination of many epidemics which formerly scourged mankind. The means of prevention of metabolic and nutritional disorders have not been so well developed, but accumulating evidence indicates that the dietetic habits of mankind are responsible for some of these maladies. In these cases prevention is less practicable because it is to a larger extent individual and thus outside the sphere of governmental control; the foundation for such disorders is laid during the years of apparently good health and the disease is usually well established before the need for a change in the dietetic habits becomes evident. In addition it must be admitted that the ideas of the medical profession in general in regard to dietetics have lacked precision. While there has been a general impression that too free use of meat is injurious, and that people in general eat too much, such impressions were not sustained by a comparison of the actual diet of the people with the standards laid down by the text-books as to the daily requirements of the individual for proteids and total calorific value of the diet.

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