OBESITY is a problem of affluent society and occurs only in those geographical areas and during those periods of human history that are characterized by an abundance of food available to great masses of people. Conversely, during war, famine, and economic catastrophe, when food becomes scarce, obesity and related diseases rapidly disappear. At mid-20th century Americans have been made acutely aware that, over many huge, underdeveloped areas of the earth representing more than one half of the world's population, a base subsistence level of food supply or actual famine and starvation are still the "normal" ways of life. Among these people obesity is unknown. In other countries, such as the US and those of western Europe, a superabundance of food has led to a high and continuously rising incidence of obesity. There could be no more eloquent testimony to overeating as the basic cause of this problem. Within any
Gordon ES, Goldberg M, Chosy GJ. A New Concept in the Treatment of Obesity: A 48-hour total fast followed by six meals a day and later by stepwise increases in food and calorie intake has permitted patients to lose weight that they show no tendency to regain for periods of up to 6 months. It also promoted spontaneous evolution of good dietary habits. JAMA. 1963;186(1):50–60. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.63710010013014
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