Do Young Children Instinctively Know What to Eat?

Mary Story, Judith E. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In the 1920s and 1930s, the pediatrician Clara Davis conducted pioneering studies, now considered classic, and published at least 12 papers on the selection of diets by infants and young children.1 2 3 4 The results of her research have been widely interpreted by health professionals to mean that given a wide variety of choices, children will instinctively select and consume a well-balanced diet. Such a broad conclusion was not drawn by Davis, nor can it be concluded from her research or from any other investigation. Yet, this supposition is frequently stated as fact in medical textbooks5 6 7 8 and echoed by clinicians. The misinterpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-106
Number of pages4
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 8 1987


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