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May 4, 1994

Body Weight and Mortality-Reply

Author Affiliations

Harvard School of Public Health Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1994;271(17):1320-1321. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510410032025

In Reply.  —Dr Kashani speculates that eating less of everything may extend longevity. He further hypothesizes that if total caloric intake were reduced, vigorous exercise may not be necessary to prevent obesity and, as a consequence, the incidence of sports-related injuries would decrease.Although the causes of obesity are complex, an excess of caloric intake over expenditure will cause people to be overweight. Available data clearly indicate that obesity results in adverse health effects.1 However, data regarding the health experience of individuals at the other end of the weight spectrum (ie, lean people) are much less clear.1 Results from animal studies have demonstrated consistently that restricted caloric intake is related to decreased morbidity and mortality.2 Extrapolating these findings to humans, however, is difficult. Populations subsisting under starvation conditions obviously do not experience better health than those living with adequate nutrition. Data from epidemiologic studies of the relation

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