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November 10, 1962

Population Studies of Overweight

JAMA. 1962;182(6):29-30. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050450119045

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Does overweight raise a person's risk of developing heart disease? Two teams of scientists gave a tentative "yes" answer to the question, based on findings of their long-term population studies.

One report, presented by Dr. Jeremiah Stamler of the Chicago Board of Health, reviewed data collected in 1958 and 1961, on 2,159 men and 754 women, white and Negro, aged 30 to 59. The Minnesota study by Dr. Henry Taylor and colleagues involved 842 railroad switchmen and 854 "sedentary" clerks aged 40-59.

Both investigators classified the populations by body weight, based on standards of desirable weight from life insurance tables. Both the Chicago and Minnesota data revealed lower mean levels of serum cholesterol and blood pressure in the groups slightly below or at desirable weight.

Only a small percentage of these middle-aged populations fell into those weight categories. The majority was either slightly, moderately or markedly overweight. All these overweight

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