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August 16, 1995

Obesity in Developing Nations and US Weight Guidelines

Author Affiliations

Harvard School of Public Health Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1995;274(7):537. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530070035021

To the Editor.  —In the article by Dr Willett and colleagues,1 the authors voiced their concern that the current US weight guidelines may be falsely reassuring US women older than 35 years regarding their risk of coronary heart disease. Although the current guidelines are meant for US women, their impact will be felt in other countries. It is my experience that such guidelines will be followed almost blindly in many developing countries. This is mainly due to two factors. First, the perception is that weight guidelines or almost all guidelines dealing with different health aspects that are recommended for the US population represent the "truth" or the "gold standard" to be followed. Second, many developing countries have a limited ability to evaluate and formulate their individual guidelines because of financial and/or scientific constraints.

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