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Loafer's Heart

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(2):194-198. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260140026005.
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R. Price's ironical phrase, "Man's first mistake—the wheel," 1 characterizes a basic trend in human endeavor that has been directed throughout the ages toward a steadily increasing replacement of personal effort by mechanical devices. Modern Western civilization represents the climax of these tendencies by combining maximum technical perfection of labor-saving gadgets with their maximal mass distribution. Ostensibly, the United States of America are leading in these respects. What the general lack of exercise, such as walking, running, and carrying, has done to the muscular fitness of the motorized and TV-sitting young generation of this country has been drastically demonstrated by the extensive statistical studies of Hans Kraus and associates.2 They revealed an alarming physical inferiority of American children, as compared with their counterparts in Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, and prompted the President to initiate the planning of nationwide corrective measures.

Interested advocates of more gadget manufacturing and of resulting


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