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Article
September 1939

OBESITY IN CHILDHOOD: I. PHYSICAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF OBESE CHILDREN

Author Affiliations

NEW YORK
From the Department of Pediatrics, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, the Pediatric Division of the Vanderbilt Clinic and the Babies Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1939;58(3):457-484. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1939.01990090013001
Abstract

Obesity is an anomaly of body build characterized by excessive growth in dimension through the accumulation of subcutaneous fat. If this occurs in a fully grown person, the only distinguishing feature will be the increased circumference and the excessive weight. During childhood, however, when growth is a normal process, the problem arises as to how obese children compare with normal ones with regard to those phases of growth which are not expressed by weight.

The growing-up process is complex; it includes dimensional growth and differentiation. The first is commonly measured in a simple way, by the increase in weight and stature. The second can be assessed from the structural progress in skeletal development as visualized in roentgenograms. During later childhood and the preadolescent period the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics is an indication of progressing biologic maturation.

Though the literature on obesity in childhood is extensive, the problem of studying

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