It is rare for clinicians to recognize that medicine, as a whole, profits more by normal standards than by scattered observations of interesting pathologic cases. This is Benedict's judgment,1 and Galton's2 appears to have been much the same: "Variations of weight are the surest guides to health. . . . Dangerous illnesses may be avoided, and even life preserved." Such illnesses may be outspoken, like malnutrition in children, thyrotoxicosis and tuberculosis; also diabetes and obesity. Or the disease may be insidious, in which case the weight abnormalities are apt to be called defects without obvious cause. Such defects have been alarmingly frequent in recent military examinations. And not only frequent, but surprisingly important. For instance, if we are conservative and consider not the incidence among draftees but only the actual rejections, we find that overweight ranks second among the prominent causes of rejection, as detailed in Table 1.
GRAY H, MAYALL JF. BODY WEIGHT IN TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-NINE ADULTSWHICH STANDARD IS THE BEST?. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1920;26(2):133–152. doi:10.1001/archinte.1920.00100020002001