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To the Editor:—
An excellent article on treating overweight patients was published in the Nov. 16 issue of The Journal, page 1361. I am weary of reading about the deleterious effects of excess weight and that fat is a cause of diseases like arteriosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, and myocarditis. Obesity in my opinion is a symptom of another disease. The presence of excess fat in the body, per se, cannot conceivably produce biochemical changes to cause pathological disease processes. Rather, the disease or diseases that produce the symptom complex of obesity are responsible for the deleterious complications mentioned above. To put it simply, the disease that causes obesity also probably causes atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, myocarditis, and a host of other complications. This distinction is important, because treating obesity as a disease will block progress in determining the nature of the disturbances which result in the symptom complex of excess weight. Too
Biegeleisen HI. OBESITY. JAMA. 1958;166(8):964. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990080110024