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    I heard a doctor on a low-carb podcast say that he happened to be looking at photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and realised that there was not a single overweight person in the images.

    Now, obviously there were a few plump individuals in the past in some societies at some times, but the explosion of obesity does seem to be a modern epidemic—and, as we know, coincides with the unfortunate confluence of (a) stupid and counterproductive public health advice and (b) a greater availability of refined carbohydrate.

    So I wondered about other old photographs. What could I see? I thought to look for crowd scenes, because then I'd get a chance to see more people. Unfortunately, crowd scenes tend to mean people are crowded together closer or photographed at a distance or only their heads can be seen.

    I'm not claiming this is "research" in any formal sense—just a quick look round. But perhaps other people would have some better examples, and it seems worth posting what I found anyway. These pictures are all from England and Wales from the 1920s to the 1950s:

    Football Association Cup Final at Wembley, Middlesex in 1923:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._Final1923.jpg

    I don't think anyone in shot is obese—so far as it's possible to tell.

    Marchers on the jarrow Crusade of 1936:

    http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplo...OWMARCHERS.jpg

    Hard to tell, but I don't think so.

    I then thought of looking for pictures from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and found this from the Rhodda Valley in Wales:

    http://www.anglesey.info/Rhondda%20V...953%201280.jpg

    Far more difficult to tell there. The girl near the centre of the picture just behind the old lady in black looks like she may be a bit hefty (but perhaps it's her face-shape and her clothes blending tonally with those of her neighbours). On the whole I think these people are "normal"—not necessarily thin but not actually obese.

    That search also led me to a page where there was not only a picture of children taking part in a Coronation Tableau, but a set of picture of 1950s schoolchildren. i think this is worth posting—I can't actually see a single overweight child in any of these pictures, which is telling. I'm not sure you'd see that nowadays:

    New Page 4

  • #2
    Maybe two chubby boys. And another thing: count the pairs of spectacles, hence the children with myopia.

    Comment


    • #3
      It is very telling, IMO. Good stuff Lewis.
      People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

      Comment


      • #4
        My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all became obese in the 1980s. Before that, the younger two generations were thin and the oldest was just matronly plump.

        You want to learn even more, study Weston Price's photographs in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. There is so much to learn there. I can look at pictures of American Civil War soldiers and notice that the officers clearly came from well-nourished families, while the privates were much more likely to have the close-set eyes of early nutritional defects. Thirty years later you see that among the common folk, not only are the eyes changing, but it's becoming more common to see the ears sticking out, weak chins, sunken cheekbones, and pinched noses of children born to nutrient-deplete parents.

        In general, the upper classes of America continue to show mostly strong chins, broad cheeks and foreheads, and broad shoulders through the early 1900s, but then factory food (the white biscuits and corn syrup and crisco that have by this time become the staples of poor America) begins to filter ... up ... and become the cool thing to do.

        Looking at a crowd today, there are almost no broad faces at all, unless I happen to see someone from a developing country. Even among those, you start to see some of the signs, but it's much less common than in the standard US face. For us, pinched noses, weak chins, narrow shoulders are becoming the norm. I'm noticing that it's hard to find beautiful celebrities among the youngest folks. Paris Hilton is a prime example of the face of a child born to a nutrient-deplete parent, but look at the stars all across the board. Right now I'm thinking of Lee Adama from BG - he's supposed to be the hero, the stud, and he does have the great chin and cheeks, but his nose is so pinched. You didn't see that in the stud stars of past generations. James Dean, Cary Grant, Mel Gibson, Spencer Tracey, all have strong faces and shoulders. Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, and Brad Pitt have strong faces, but they're a lot older than the current crop (I took these names from an article called "Who's the Next Big Male Movie Star?"): Emile Hirsch (broad upper face, weak jaw), Shia LaBeouf (shudder!), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (not good)... It's not about being drop-dead gorgeous, it's about the reality that apparently even Hollywood is not finding anyone who has good bone structure. What used to be normal 200 years ago was increasingly rare in the 20th century, but could still be found in those whose faces were put on screen for millions, but is now a true rarity.

        Same is true for female stars. Compare the women you see in a photo of Civil War nurses to the facial structure you see in any crowd of women today, and even among Hollywood. Lauren Hutton has fabulous structure; Jennifer Anniston has a terribly pinched nose and close set eyes, yet is one of the prettiest her generation could offer. Angelina Jolie is a rare exception, but again, she's 15 years older than the current crop of Olsens (very weak jaws), Kirsten Dunst (closest to a broad face, but not there), Lindsay Lohan (weak overall), & Kim Kardashian (very narrow nose & chin). Think how beautiful they would have been if their full genetic heritage had been expressed if only their parents and grandparents had eaten well!
        Last edited by MamaGrok; 07-26-2011, 12:32 PM.
        5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
        Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
        Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
        Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
        ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Lewis, it's definitely interesting stuff. I like what you bring to the forum here.

          @MamaGrok: Regarding Joseph Gordon-Levitt; my wife and I watched a movie with him in it a while ago (pretty sure it was 500 Days of Summer) and in the opening scene, it shows him sitting on a bench and the first thought I had was "where's his other shoudler?! Is he missing an arm?" Part of it was just the camera angle, but part of it is that he has super-narrow shoulders. I'm glad mine are fairly broad :-) Thanks to my ancestors for not eating a super-crapy diet!

          Comment


          • #6
            in old photos i have seen plenty of heavy people from the early 1900s. i wouldnt consider them obese by todays standards but definitely big (sort of like winston churchill), usually wearing overalls as well so maybe they were farmers
            Primal Chaos
            37yo 6'5"
            6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
            current 338lbs 49" waist
            goal 240lbs 35" waist

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            • #7
              There's a picture of my paternal grandmother in 1920, I think she's 18 or 19 at that time and she's a larger lady, probably pretty close to what we'd call obese today. Then again she was a wealthy farmer's daughter so that could have had a lot to do with it. She may be more along the lines of "healthy" than obese. I never met her.

              I've been told I have a rather strong looking facial structure but then again, I couldn't tell a strong bone structure from a weak one.
              Georgette

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              • #8
                You're right; Gordon-Levitt has extremely narrow physique. And Lebeouf looks almost as though parts of his jawline and forehead were just airbrushed out of photos. There's just nothing there where there should be.

                It's painful. It took me a while to train my eye to know what to look for, but then you start to see it *every*where. And it's most painful to see it in my own children, who got progressively worse as my own nutrient status became more deplete, b/c I had no idea it was, nor how to replenish it.

                And as we grow, there's more and more obesity. Someone on this forum recently said he's been teaching university students for close to 40 years. In the last ten years, they've become almost universally either fat or skinny fat. I notice the same thing among high school students. HS used to be the pinnacle of thin fit girls and lean fit guys, but most are now either plump or skinny fat, on their way to becoming fat. So strange to see.
                5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

                Comment


                • #9
                  Strong (face nearly straight down from top to jaw, distinct angle to chin, nose looks easy to breathe through (broad line & broad at bottom), eyes spaced well):

                  Not:

                  These are guys with builds like Martin Short getting roles like Indiana Jones and Cobra Commander .... is that all we've got now?

                  Although even my "strong" examples aren't as strong as these:
                  (look at the amazingly wide curve of his dental palate - you could fit 100 teeth in there!)
                  Last edited by MamaGrok; 07-26-2011, 01:42 PM.
                  5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                  Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                  Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                  Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                  ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Strong face:

                    Not:


                    It seems like on the "strong faces," the features are well spread, but on the others, especially Hilton & Kardashian, the features seem squeezed together all in the middle, and very small. One thing Price noted was that in those on their traditional diets, family resemblances were very strong, even extending throughout an ethnicity to the extent that people of the same ethnicity but on different remote islands looked like siblings. But once nutrition became poor, family resemblances were much more random, and people tended to look more like others with their own particular facial weakness than members of their own family.

                    In that vein, I think Hilton kind of resembles Kardashian. I see many people on modern diets in his book who look more like people I know (who don't really resemble their own parents) than like their parents.

                    Tha twas fun. back to work for me now. Thanks for the stimulating post!
                    5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                    Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                    Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                    Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                    ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MamaGrok View Post
                      You didn't see that in the stud stars of past generations. James Dean, Cary Grant, Mel Gibson, Spencer Tracey, all have strong faces and shoulders.
                      I noticed recently when watching The Wild Bunch what a strong face Ernest Borgnine has:



                      This is a different, longer, face shape and a different nose shape, too, but strong as well:



                      I guess faces like that are still around, albeit rugby's bent this nose—Mike Tindall:

                      Last edited by Lewis; 07-26-2011, 02:22 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You don't even have to go back that far. Here's a Soul Train vid from the 70s. People were nice and thin. When I went to school in the 60s and 70s, fat kids were extremely rare. And what else? We weren't sitting in front of a computer all day. The obesity trend started in the 80s - that was 30 years ago y'all. Dang I miss disco and dance clubs...
                        Positively Radical — Pigeonholes are for Pigeons!

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                        • #13
                          Here's a link to film taken in San Francisco in April 1906, just before the big earthquake. They strapped a camera to the front of a trolley and went the length of Market Street. Pretty interesting, whether you're looking for fitness levels or just curious about the time period.

                          60 Minutes 1906 Trolley Film Segment

                          ETA: Yeah, I see mostly lean people too, but I'm trying to look mostly at the men. During that era, the majority of city-dwelling women were wearing corsets, which is the same reason why you see women in the 1950s with extremely tiny waists compared to their hips and chest.
                          Last edited by RitaRose; 07-26-2011, 03:47 PM.
                          Durp.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HillsideGina View Post
                            You don't even have to go back that far. Here's a Soul Train vid from the 70s. People were nice and thin. When I went to school in the 60s and 70s, fat kids were extremely rare. And what else? We weren't sitting in front of a computer all day. The obesity trend started in the 80s - that was 30 years ago y'all. Dang I miss disco and dance clubs...
                            to be fair i doubt they would have let any fat people on soul train. kind of like that dance show that used to be on mtv, full of beautiful thin people. nothing like what you see at actual dance clubs lol
                            Primal Chaos
                            37yo 6'5"
                            6-19-2011 393lbs 60" waist
                            current 338lbs 49" waist
                            goal 240lbs 35" waist

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That was great, RitaRose. My kids and I watched it the whole 11 minutes. Eleven minutes of everyday, boring old stuff, but so fascinating! Right at the crossroads of horse-drawn carriages & cars, too. Yes, the men were all very much lean. You can tell the women were, too, despite the heavy clothing - I've seen enough nuns to know the profile of a woman in a long, woolen dress who is lean versus one who is not. The corset only changes the waist part; you can still definitely tell the overall size of the person.
                              5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                              Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                              Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                              Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                              ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

                              Comment

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