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Standards of the Present for People of the Past: Height, Weight, and Mortality among Men of Amherst College, 1834-1949

John E. Murray
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 57, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 585-606
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2951191
Page Count: 22
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Standards of the Present for People of the Past: Height, Weight, and Mortality among Men of Amherst College, 1834-1949
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Abstract

Whether anthropometric-mortality risk relationships as found in present day populations also characterized past populations is disputed. This article finds U-shaped body mass index (BMI)-mortality risk relationships among nineteenth-century men that were similar to such relationships as found in twentieth-century men. No relationship between height and mortality could be detected. This article infers from the socioeconomic homogeneity of the sample that the BMI-mortality risk relationship, although apparently invariant with respect to time, is driven by noneconomic factors.

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