HOT BLAST: Losing weight, the President Taft way
Oct 16, 2013 | 1528 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Taft
President Taft
It's likely that amateur historians can recall little about President William Howard Taft other than the fact that he was overweight. Those reputations are hard to shake, even for deceased presidents.

This week, the New York Times wrote about new information on the obese president that comes from letters between Taft and his doctor, who was treating him for weight loss. The Times' story is a fascinating look at the differences between then and now in terms of how we encourage people to lose weight and eat healthy. Taft weighed as much as 354 pounds.

According to The Times, "Meals were to be eaten at certain times and meats were to be weighed. Taft was to eat a small portion of lean meat or fish at every meal, cooked vegetables at lunch and dinner (no butter), a plain salad, and stewed or baked fruit (unsweetened). He got a single glass of 'unsweetened' wine at lunch. The doctor also allowed his own diet product, gluten biscuits, that were produced to his specifications in London. Taft bought them and had them shipped to the United States.

"Taft tried to adhere to the program and also employed a personal trainer, known at the time as 'a physical culture man.'

"By April 1905, six months after he first wrote to the doctor, Taft had lost 60 pounds. But even though people told him he looked good, he was 'continuously hungry,' he wrote the doctor."

Considering America's -- and Alabama's, particularly -- problem with obesity, this new information on President Taft shows us that obesity isn't wholly a 21st-century problem.

-- Phillip Tutor
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