COUNSELING on feeding and nutrition is one of the cornerstones of continuous health supervision of infants and children. It is to the family physician or pediatrician that many parents turn for guidance in relation to the feeding and nutritional problems of their children. It is he who promotes normal growth and development through teaching the mother since only by educating the mother will there be any insurance that the diet of her child is nutritionally sound. He is also concerned with nutrition and diet as an integral part of medical diagnosis and therapy. He has numerous opportunities to apply the concepts of nutrition in health promotion, in disease prevention, in the diagnosis of disease, treatment of disease, and in rehabilitation from chronic illness.
The pediatrician's participation in community health services, such as well-child conferences and school health programs, frequently brings him into contact with municipal public health agencies. Such agencies often have many services available to help the pediatrician fulfil his role in promoting and maintaining the nutritional health of his patients and their families.
Nutrition services provided by state and local departments of health are directed primarily toward meeting the needs of specific groups, although at times the "group" may be the entire community. Efforts in nutrition counseling relate to those groups toward which specific health department activity is directed, e.g., expectant mothers, infants, children with handicapping conditions, children in day-care or other group-care settings, and many others with special requirements.
Pediatricians can look to public health agencies for a variety of nutrition services such as consultation on nutrition, dietary counseling services for patients, diagnostic nutrition services, provision of special dietary products, dietary consultation to hospitals and other group-care facilities, and nutrition education materials for their own reference as well as for use by their patients.
- Copyright © 1965 by the American Academy of Pediatrics