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Energy Balance and Obesity: A Short Review

Ann Intern Med. 1964;60(4):689-699. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-60-4-689
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Medical opinion generally holds that being overweight constitutes, at best, a life-shortening situation. The actuarial studies of life insurance companies on this point are hardly deniable and the extra premiums charged overweight people demonstrate that the companies believe them to be poor risks (1, 2).

Most individuals, physicians and laymen alike, would emphasize the excessive intake of calories as the most important cause of obesity while realizing that "excessive" means simply a greater intake of energy than is spent. Since the classical work of Rubner (3) on the dog and Atwater and Benedict (4) on the human, it has been


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