Author: Albert J. Stunkard
OBESITY is a condition characterized by excessive accumulations of fat in the body. By convention, obesity is said to be present when body weight exceeds by 20 percent the standard weight listed in the usual height-weight tables. This index of obesity, however, is only an approximate one at lesser degrees of overweight, since bone and muscle can make a substantial contribution to overweight. In the future, diagnosis will probably be based upon newer and more accurate methods of estimating. Skin-fold calipers have already gained acceptance because of their convenience and because half of body fat is localized in subcutaneous tissue.