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February 12, 1968


JAMA. 1968;203(7):514. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140070070016

If any group worries more about overweight than middle-aged women, it must be teen-age girls. One measure of the prevalence of this concern is the observation1 that almost 300 of 446 female adolescents, at the time of study or earlier, dieted to lose weight. Yet Dwyer et al categorized only about 70 of the total group as "obese," using the criterion of triceps skinfold measurement. Almost all these girls were dieters. Obviously many of the dieters in the total group were not restricting their eating because of overt obesity, but for some other reason. No one with teen-age daughters or patients will be surprised to hear that many of the study subjects reported a desire to "correct" or improve their figures.

But if we ignore this group of cultural dieters, and if we accept Dwyer's data as generally applicable, then we must still consider the plight of 15 of