Obesity Criminal Negligence
( Originally Published 1916 )
The causes of Obesity are laziness, self indulgence, lack of will power and ignorance. No doubt the above statement is startling. I must explain its relevancy. When your dog or horse becomes over fat, you reduce him. How? Very simple, indeed. You run him (treatment for laziness). You supply the will-power, prevent self-indulgence, vanquish ignorance, when you learn what his diet should be, and withhold all else. You don't allow your dog the pleasure of eating his fill, lest he become twice the size a well-kept dog should be.
Does any one question the advisability of keeping the weight of his horse at an ideal figure? Do you, who talk so differently regarding yourself, ever say of your horse: "Oh, he was meant to be fat; eating has nothing to do with it. He does not eat as much as Mr. Smith's horse. I can't reduce his weight? " No. If he is getting too fat, you give him more exercise and less grain and his excess weight speedily disappears. A very simple proposition, but it always works. There is variation in horses; likewise in people.
The principles in the matter under discussion are much the same in both. Of course, the diet in man is so much more extensive that it requires more time and gray matter to dispel the ignorance which exists regarding his food in weight reduction. It is easier to hold the reins of self-control over the horse and apply the whip which forces action, but sensitiveness and pride are sufficient in many human beings to conquer these shortcomings when the knowledge regarding food values is once obtained.
No such statement as, " I can't reduce my weight," will bear the light of science. You can if you will, providing you learn how. If you go this day to bed and eat no food, you will lose one to two pounds daily, depending upon your height, and the amount of adipose tissue in your body. Just as truly you will lose, though more slowly, if you partake of some food but less than your requirements. Is this harmful? Decidedly not, if intelligently managed. The diet should be well-balanced and supplemented by exercise.
It is a matter of quite general knowledge among physicians that the Diabetic and the Eskimo live on a diet in which proteins are supplied in sufficient amounts, fats in abundance, and carbohydrates are reduced to a minimum. This is exactly the diet upon which a patient undergoing weight reduction should be placed. The proteins are furnished in meats, eggs, etc.; the carbohydrates are much reduced, and the fats are largely drawn from the patient's own body tissues.
This consumption by the body of its own fat is no more than frequently occurs when one works unusually hard without increasing the food sup-ply; or when busy, neglects to eat the accustomed amount. There is no other way of weight reduction than by either increasing the demand for food above the supply, or decreasing the supply to a point below the demand. Then it is only necessary to have the enterprise, will-power, energy and determination to follow such a plan.
As a matter of fact, you will feel better in many ways when you begin to reduce, provided you do so intelligently. Hunger may be largely prevented by eating foods which are bulky and of low caloric value. You will stop bursting the buttons off your constantly shrinking garments. You will be able to sit in a car and leave room for another in the seat beside you. You will be able to lean over and button your shoes. You will be able to walk up hill without stopping every few steps to catch your breath. Your feet will pain less, because they no longer have an undue weight to support. Not only will breathing be easier, but locomotion will become a pleasure. Even a person who is only fifteen or twenty pounds overweight will notice a marked increase in the ease with which he moves about, if he loses only half of this excess.
Do you really consider that nature has predestined some to be uncomfortably fat and others irremediably thin? If so, a remarkable partiality is shown in favor of the lower animals. When did you ever see a horse so fat that walking was an effort, running practically an impossibility, and hill-climbing a torture? No. Horses are favored by nature superfluous flesh is not their curse.
How rarely do you see a horse skeleton? Are you not filled with indignation against the owner? What pity for the beast is then manifest! But why? Is the owner responsible, or should you lay the blame on nature? Perhaps you would blame the owner, but if the owner and not the horse were thin or fat, then whom would you blame? You might say he could not help it. Nature meant him to be so. As for the horse, absolute neglect.
Nature would indeed be unkind to endow us with trials of the flesh surpassing those of the dumb beasts in our care. " Care " is the word. It is the key to the situation. The animals are in our care. We are not. We have realized their economic value and studied their various needs. Great consideration has been given to the exact amount and proper kind of food required. The efficiency of the horse, the cow, the chicken is the direct result of feeding. Man has worked this out to a nicety — for his animals; but for himself, he may eat what he pleases, when he pleases and where he pleases. Is his efficiency then of so little consequence? His health of no moment?
A very useful and commendable organization has worked for many years to check abuse of animals, and demand for them the proper care. Why not incorporate a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Man, securing him against the evil consequences of insufficient or excessive nourishment?