Dangers Of Weight Reduction Cures
( Originally Published 1929 )
THE current craze to get thin among our people generally, but particularly among women, is full of danger. With the zeal characteristic of Americans, having determined to reduce they want to pass a law or take a pill that will effect an immediate result. In their fervor to reduce their weight they are willing to do anything, however grave the danger to their health or what-ever the cost to their purse. The tragic truth is that their concern is more for their appearance than for their health. Hence they seem utterly in-different to the serious consequences. The objective of women is a. boyish figure to match a boyish bob. Pitiful creatures, they cling to every foible and are "blown about by every wind of doctrine." Today they rapturously pursue one method, and tomorrow, this having failed, they will turn eagerly and with undiminished hope to another. Such is their faith that they move from the ashes of one disaster to the roseate gleam of the latest promise. The Spanish inquisition alone produced tortures comparable to those they endure, for they are racked and often ruined on Bergonie chairs, and other highly recommended machines.
They are sweated unmercifully in cabinets be-fore being savagely massaged and manhandled on marble slabs. Though these devices may be dangerous when taken without expert medical ad-vice they do not approach the harm which springs from being unnaturally and unsanitarily compressed in rubber paraphernalia, served with food-less fodder or medicated with dangerous drugs.
Every new reduction device is hopefully accepted and eagerly tried generally because the advertising employed in its behalf is skillfully planned and alluringly portrayed. Every new method of treatment, no matter how absurd in theory or practice, is given the same chance. Why they should blindly risk their health on the racks and reefs of greedy charlatanism is beyond my comprehension.
It is generally asserted that men attempt weight reduction solely for greater physical fitness or business efficiency, while women are moved for beauty's sake or sex appeal, rarely giving a thought to reduction as a factor in attaining and keeping good health or in the light of a business asset.
Whatever the fancied difference in motive the fact is that when men do make up their minds to reduce they are as eager to follow the short-cut method as any woman. The traps set for them vary in appearance and the methods employed differ in degree but the basic strategy of their exploiters is precisely the same as that used with women. Where women succumb to facial and figure gymnasts men fall into the hands of trainers who are usually retired, defeated or reformed prize fighters. They not infrequently jeopardize their health by too strong or too rapid reduction and as a consequence suffer from dilated hearts, damaged kidneys or a generally impoverished nervous system.
Women on their part as the result of unscientific reduction become old and haggard beyond their years, irritable and acrimonious, sickly and feeble. Domestic felicity is often endangered. I noted recently a newspaper account of a divorce action pending in court where a featured angle of the controversy turned on the question of obesity. The husband alleged that his wife had spent not less than fifty thousand dollars on weight reduction. No mention was made of the additional cost to himself per superfluous pound of his wife's weight estimated in terms of food costs. He must have spent a pretty penny in the years of accumulation during which his wife was building up a deposit of fat which fifty thousand dollars was unable completely to remove.
A Reduction Heroine
Reduction has its unknown and unsung heroes. I know of a very charming lady who has struggled against the inroads of obesity for twenty years. During that period she has reduced in the aggregate some eight hundred pounds. For twenty years she has reduced twenty pounds, twice a year. Think at what tremendous cost of energy, inconvenience and money she has attained her end! If she had not been endowed with the constitution of a super-human she could never have survived the ordeal of fire, water and what not through which she has been put.