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February 1988

Obesity in Children

Author Affiliations

University of California, San Diego Division of General Pediatrics 225 Dickerson St H 664 San Diego, CA 92103

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(2):121. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150020015002

Sir.—I read with interest the article by Gortmaker et al1 regarding increased pediatric obesity in the United States and the critical, but not helpful, editorial by Dr Barness.2 While I can agree with Dr Barness' concerns and the need for "intense biologic, metabolic, and psycho-social study" on the issue of pediatric obesity, I cannot help but express my comments on the positive sides of the study. While our methods for assessment of obesity, especially in pediatrics, are far from ideal, they are all we have. If one accepts skin-fold thickness as an index of subcutaneous fat and, hence, obesity despite its weaknesses, the study does indicate a trend, ie, an increase in the prevalence of obesity among American children. This is confirmed by other studies and our daily observations. From a practical point of view, accepting such a conclusion would do no harm but might possibly help

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