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May 2008

Visceral Fat Is Worth Measuring and Measuring Well

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(5):491-492. doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.5.491

An important mentoring lesson I received began with the simple question, “So what?” At the time, I was proposing strategies to measure something better and a mentor was essentially challenging the underlying assumption that the something needed to be measured at all, let alone the need to allocate resources to measure it better! The question seemed valid, albeit challenging to address at the time, but ultimately was a valuable lesson in the scientific pursuit of filling knowledge gaps: identify the important gaps to fill and leave the others alone. This is particularly difficult when the issue is whether to pursue better measurement. For the burgeoning public health problem of childhood overweight in the United States, such measurement gaps exist that require our attention, some of which seem especially central to our pursuit of improving child health.