Beginning in the 1930s, actuaries and statisticians of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company prepared and published life tables and much other useful statistical information based on analysis of data about their policy holders. This included information about relationships among variables, such as age, sex, weight, height, blood pressure, visual acuity, occupation, place of residence, and tobacco and alcohol use. Policy holders were not, of course, a random sample of the general population, but despite this limitation the Metropolitan Life tables were widely used for many years because they were often the only source of approximately normative data on ranges in body weight and blood pressure. They have been superseded by more representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) of the US National Center for Health Statistics.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.