• Pediatrics did not emerge as a specialty distinct from other medical disciplines until early in the 20th century. The main causes of death and disease in infancy and childhood during the 18th and 19th centuries—infectious and nutritional diseases—were conquered before midcentury, and primary care pediatric practice was quickly immersed in child health supervision activities. Thereafter, pediatricians spent the majority of their office-based practice time conducting well-child visits. The American Academy of Pediatrics now wishes to increase the number of well-child visits during infancy, childhood, and adolescence by 50%—from 14 to 21 visits. This posture, plus that of recommending ongoing comprehensive and continuing care by a pediatrician for every child, may not be in the best interests of children's health.
(Am J Dis Child 1983;137:17-20)