MUCH attention has been directed toward the role that specific nutritional factors may play in the development of atherosclerosis in man. For example, the influence of the cholesterol content of the diet and the blood has been studied in great detail. There are, however, a number of observations that indicate that the general nutritional state of a person may have an important bearing on the formation of the atherosclerotic lesions. These observations may be divided into two categories: (1) those suggesting that obesity favors rapid and extensive development of atheromatous plaques and (2) those indicating that prolonged undernutrition may retard the formation of such lesions.
Chief among the first group are the extensive statistics of insurance companies,1 in which it is shown that important clinical consequences of atherosclerosis (e. g., occlusion of the coronary artery and cerebral hemorrhage) occur more commonly in obese persons than in persons of average