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January 1938


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard University Medical School, and the Infants' and Children's Hospitals.

Am J Dis Child. 1938;55(1):42-50. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1938.01980070051004

Obesity is usually defined as an excessive accumulation of fat in the body. On this basis the diagnosis of obesity in overweight children is not difficult and is usually made by cursory examination. Obesity is more strictly defined, however, as an accumulation in the body of an amount of subcutaneous fat which is excessive in relation to the amount of muscle. Persons of normal weight who show such a disproportion should be considered obese. It follows as a corollary that the person who is overweight but has superior development of the muscular system should not be considered obese. The present study was undertaken to show that by means of clinical examination and determination of the creatinine coefficient obesity as just defined may be quantified.

Clinicians note marked contrast in the relative thicknesses of superficial fat and of underlying muscle in lean and corpulent children. By means of inspection and palpation

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