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Height and body mass index values of nineteenth-century New York legislators

Howard Bodenhorn ()

Economics & Human Biology, 2010, vol. 8, issue 1, 121-126

Abstract: Previous studies of mid-nineteenth-century American BMI values have used data created by military academies and penitentiaries. This paper uses an alternative data set, constructed from legislative documents in which the heights and weights of New York State legislators were recorded. The results reveal that middle- to upper-middle class Americans maintained BMI values closer to the modern standard than did students and prisoners. The average BMI value among this group was 24 and their height-weight combinations did not greatly diverge from historical mortality risk optima.

Keywords: Body; mass; index; 19th-century; Americans; Legislators; New; York; US (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:1:p:121-126