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February 18, 1974

Obesity and Its Management

Author Affiliations

Mayo Graduate School of Medicine Rochester, Minn

JAMA. 1974;227(7):805. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230200063027

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If my library were limited to a single volume on obesity, I would choose this short monograph. Written by a British general practitioner, it reflects the practical problems of understanding and treating one of modern civilization's most pervasive disorders. It espouses no dogma; it entertains no speculations. It is by no means an exhaustive nor definitive text. Rather, it summarizes the author's extensive experience in the day-to-day management of obese patients, and it provides a commendably objective (although occasionally uncritical) review of the relevant clinical literature on this subject.

The author appreciates several phenomena that sometimes escape his more academic colleagues: (1) Obesity does not have a single etiology. (2) Familial tendencies exist. (3) Psychological factors often exacerbate, but (in the general practice setting) rarely cause obesity. (4) Obesity is not simply a matter of gluttony—some fat people do, indeed, eat less than their slender but more active neighbors. (5)