Document Detail

A history of obesity, or how what was good became ugly and then bad.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17045228     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Chronic food shortage and malnutrition have been the scourge of humankind from the dawn of history. The current worldwide epidemic of obesity, now recognized as a public health crisis, is barely a few decades old. Only after the technological advances of the eighteenth century did a gradual increase in food supply became available. The initial effect of these advances in improved public health and amount, quality, and variety of food was increased longevity and body size. These early favorable outcomes of technological advances notwithstanding, their incremental effect since the Second World War has been an overabundance of easily accessible food, coupled with reduced physical activity, that accounts for the recent increased prevalence of obesity. Obesity as a chronic disease with well-defined pathologic consequences is less than a century old. The scarcity of food throughout most of history had led to connotations that being fat was good, and that corpulence and increased "flesh" were desirable as reflected in the arts, literature, and medical opinion of the times. Only in the latter half of the nineteenth century did being fat begin to be stigmatized for aesthetic reasons, and in the twentieth century, its association with increased mortality was recognized. Whereas early reports listed obesity as a risk factor for mortality from "chronic nephritis," the subsequent recognition of the more common association of obesity with diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease altered the listings and questioned its being a risk factor for kidney disease. An enlarging body of evidence, accrued over the past decade, now indicates a direct association of obesity with chronic kidney disease and its outcomes.
Garabed Eknoyan
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Advances in chronic kidney disease     Volume:  13     ISSN:  1548-5595     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2006 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-10-18     Completed Date:  2007-01-25     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101209214     Medline TA:  Adv Chronic Kidney Dis     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  421-7     Citation Subset:  IM    
Renal Section, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Food / history
History, 18th Century
History, 19th Century
History, 20th Century
Malnutrition / history
Obesity / history*
Renal Insufficiency, Chronic

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