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Epidemiology:
doi: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181c1e7d3
Letters to the Editor

Am I Shrinking? On Clothing Size and Body Size

Marques–Vidal, Pedro

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Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine; University of Lausanne; Lausanne, Switzerland; Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (Cardiomet); University Hospital; Lausanne, Switzerland; Pedro-Manuel.Marques-Vidal@chuv.ch

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To the Editor:

I read with interest the article by Hughes et al.1 I would only add some caution regarding the “evolution” of clothing size with time. In the 1980s, I used to wear T-shirts sized XL; in the 1990s, I was downgraded to size L, and currently most of my clothes are size M. Although this trend might represent a considerable shrinkage of my person, I can assure you that my height has decreased just 1 cm and my weight actually increased by 7 kg. Sizing evolution (also called “vanity sizing”2) appears to be a common feature of the clothing industry, “adapting” to the trends in mean corpulence of buyers.3 Hence, an American size 8 in the 1950s became a size 4 by the 1970s and a size 00 today.4 It would be of interest to know if subjects in the study by Hughes et al maintained their clothing size throughout the study.

Pedro Marques–Vidal

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine

University of Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (Cardiomet)

University Hospital

Lausanne, Switzerland

Pedro-Manuel.Marques-Vidal@chuv.ch

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REFERENCES

1. Hughes LA, Schouten LJ, Goldbohm RA, van den Brandt PA, Weijenberg MP. Self-reported clothing size as a proxy measure for body size. Epidemiology. 20:673–676.

2. Anonymous. Vanity sizing. July 10, 2009 Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_sizing. Accessed August 17, 2009.

3. Fasanella K. Sizing evolution. July 12, 2005. Available at: http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/sizing_evolution/. Accessed August 17, 2009.

4. Jackson KM. 0 is the new 8. May 5, 2006. Available at: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/05/05/0_is_the_new_8/. Accessed August 17, 2009.

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Epidemiology
Am I Shrinking? On Clothing Size and Body Size
Hughes, LA; Schouten, LJ; Goldbohm, RA; van den Brandt, PA; Weijenberg, MP
Epidemiology, 21(1): 160.
10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181c2fc55
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