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November 10, 1951


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, and Passavant Memorial Hospital.

JAMA. 1951;147(11):1015-1019. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670280017004

Obesity is one of the commonest physical abnormalities found in the general population. It shortens life, affects health, and impairs prognosis. It is indeed true that fat comes only from food, and those who wish to get rid of accumulated body fat must eat less than is required to meet the energy requirement of the body.1

Numerous investigators are not satisfied with this conception as a complete and final answer to the problem of obesity. Normally, there is a nice adjustment between appetite and caloric needs, and the body ordinarily maintains itself in a fairly constant state. Whatever the underlying cause of obesity is, in the last analysis it involves a disturbance in the normal relation of the appetite to the energy expenditure. The mechanism which determines appetite is a primary factor in the development of obesity. There is no satisfactory answer as to what determines appetite satisfaction, but,