Letters to the Editor
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.
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine
University of Lausanne
Centre for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research (Cardiomet)
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.