Pediatrics came into being as a branch of medicine primarily because of special problems in feeding infants when the Industrial Revolution reduced the number of women available both for nursing their own children and for service as wet nurses. Infant feeding and other nutritional concerns remained dominant in pediatrics until about 50 years ago, when physicians began to have effective treatment for problems such as infections and metabolic diseases. Nutrition has always been a concern of pediatrics since then, but it has had little recent attention in either the textbooks or medical curricula.
The coeditors of this book state that because the importance of nutrition has become more apparent in recent years, the book's raison d'être is to provide information about the nutritional aspects of many diseases of infants and children. They further state that they are presenting a comprehensive review of general concepts and relevant information on specific disease