where is a constant depending only on . The Whitney constant is the smallest value of for which the above inequality holds. The theorem is particularly useful when applied on intervals of small length, leading to good estimates on the error of spline approximation.
The original proof given by Whitney follows an analytic argument which utilizes the properties of moduli of smoothness. However, it can also be proved in a much shorter way using Peetre's K-functionals.
It is important to have sharp estimates of the Whitney constants. It is easily shown that , and it was first proved by Burkill (1952) that , who conjectured that for all . Whitney was also able to prove that 
In 1964, Brudnyi was able to obtain the estimate , and in 1982, Sendov proved that . Then, in 1985, Ivanov and Takev proved that , and Binev proved that . Sendov conjectured that for all , and in 1985 was able to prove that the Whitney constants are bounded above by an absolute constant, that is, for all . Kryakin, Gilewicz, and Shevchuk (2002) were able to show that for , and that for all .
^Hassler, Whitney (1957). "On Functions with Bounded nth Differences". J. Math. Pures Appl. 36 (IX): 67–95.
^ abDzyadyk, Vladislav K.; Shevchuk, Igor A. "3.6". Theory of Uniform Approximation of Functions by Polynomials (1st ed.). Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 231–233. ISBN978-3-11-020147-5.
^Devore, R. A. K.; Lorentz, G. G. "6, Theorem 4.2". Constructive Approximation, Grundlehren der Mathematischen Wissenschaften [Fundamental Principles of Mathematical Sciences] (1st ed.). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag. ISBN978-3540506270.
^Gilewicz, J.; Kryakin, Yu. V.; Shevchuk, I. A. (2002). "Boundedness by 3 of the Whitney Interpolation Constant". Journal of Approximation Theory. 119 (2): 271–290.