BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7076.314 (Published 25 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:314

Surveys of schoolchildren in Britain have shown a trend away from family meals and towards informal snacking and grazing. Many snack foods contain a lot of fat and sugar and not much else, but most breakfast cereals (which children often eat throughout the day) are fortified with vitamins and iron. A report in Archives of Disease in Childhood (1996;75:474-81) says that children who ate these cereals had diets which conformed to nutritional recommendations, whereas children who did not eat cereals often had diets with multiple nutrient deficiencies.

1997 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chelsea Clinical Society, and Minerva has enjoyed reading its history (published by the society). The author, Dr David Hay, had to struggle with some very sketchy records, since members seemed more interested in having an entertaining evening than in keeping formal accounts of what went on. Nor does the society have any premises of its own: it sounds to be a splendid set up.

The symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux are usually attributed to stomach acid irritating the oesophageal mucosa. In some cases, however, the irritant may be alkaline and contain bile and pancreatic trypsin (British Journal of Surgery 1997;84:21-8). This type of reflux may be diagnosed by ambulatory bilirubin monitoring; its clinical effects and its …

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