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March 1981

The Medical Treatment of Obesity

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(4):429-430. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340040025011

Obesity is one of the most common disorders in industrialized society. Thirty-two percent of American men and 40% of American women between the ages of 40 and 49 years are at least 20% above ideal body weight.1 In a recent study using a national probability sample, 4.9% of men and 7.2% of women aged 20 to 74 years were severely obese, representing 37% and 57% above ideal weight in all age groups of men and women, respectively.2 For over 100 years, the estimated degree of obesity has been increasing in the United States,3 without any recent signs of abating. There is little question that obesity is an important risk factor for premature mortality and that "correction of overweight is probably the most important hygenic measure (aside from avoidance of cigarettes) available for the control of cardiovascular disease."4

It appears that, in the absence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia,

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