References and Further Reading

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Americans with Disability Act (1990). Available online at <> (accessed June 1, 2007) Garland-Thompson, Rosemarie (2001) Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature, New York: Columbia University Press. Longmore, Paul K. and Umansky, Lauri (2001) The New Disability History: American Perspectives, New York: New York University Press. Mitchell, David T. and Snyder, Sharon L. (1997) The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press.

O'Brien, Ruth (2001) Crippled Justice: The History of

Modern Disability Policy in the Workplace, Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press. Roeber, Jessica (2000) "Anorexic Sues to Live on Campus," The Boston Globe December 21: B6.

World Health Organization (2001) International

Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Geneva: World Health Organization.

Dublin, Louis (1882-1969) Statistician and epidemiologist with the Metropolitan Life Company (MetLife)

D ublin was interested in the use of statistics to quantify the occurrence of diseases, thinking that knowing risk would help to increase people's life expectancy by changing their actions. In 1942, he examined the association between mortality and weight among the 4 million people insured by MetLife. He classified people based on height, weight, and body frame (small, medium, or large). At that time, the people insured by MetLife who maintained the average weight for twenty-five-year-olds tended to have greater longevity than those who were outside this weight range. Based on these findings, Dublin determined that people who maintained weight in an ideal range would live longer and be at lower risk for MetLife to insure. He published tables containing ideal weights for individuals based on their height and body frame.

Originally intended to separate people into favorable and unfavorable risk categories for the writing of life insurance, the MetLife tables became so popular among American physicians in the 1950s that they were renamed "desirable weight" tables in 1959. These tables enabled physicians to individualize a person's ideal weight based on that person's individual body height. People who were above the desirable weight for height were labeled unhealthy and were instructed to go on a diet to lose weight. Knowing one's desirable weight led to the increased popularity of weighing oneself at home to determine success when dieting. People now had a weight goal based on a "science" that provided them with an absolute barometer for dieting success and promised health and longevity. These tables ceased in 1983, and, thereafter, governmental or supra-governmental tables (such as those by the World Health Organization) have been used to measure the mortality and morbidity of people defined as excessively fat or excessively thin.

SLG/Suzanne Judd

See also Cornaro; Scales and Public Weighing

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