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November 23, 1979

American Medical Association Concepts of Nutrition and Health

JAMA. 1979;242(21):2335-2338. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300210057030

THE effort by physicians, nutritionists, and other health professionals to educate the public about food and nutrition is no easier today than it was in 1938, when the observation was made that

More food notions flourish in the United States than in any other civilized country on earth, and most of them are wrong. They thrive in the minds of the same people who talk about their operations; and like all mythology, they are a blend of fear, coincidence and advertising.1

Most people have little genuine knowledge about the science of nutrition; what they call "nutrition" is not likely to be founded in science at all.

The public is continually distracted by announcements of hazards associated with foods, food additives, or various dietary practices. Many warnings are unfounded or premature, but the fears thus engendered adversely influence attitudes about foods. The public is also misled by extravagant claims of