Main content

Obesity in the 1930s and now

Jonathan Freedland compares current debates about obesity, and how we treat it, with concerns and possible solutions that arose in the 1930s.

Jonathan Freedland compares current debates about obesity, and how we treat it, with concerns and possible solutions which arose in the 1930s.

He examines books with titles like "Obesity", "Slimming for the Million: The New Treatment of Obesity", "Why Be Fat?" and "Surplus Fat and How to Reduce It" on the shelves of the Wellcome Collection Library. He looks at how the problem was tackled in the 1930s and whether it can inform how we approach today's obesity epidemic, which some claim "will bankrupt the NHS".

Jonathan's guests include writer and historian Louise Foxcroft; Emeritus Professor of Nutrition Policy at London Metropolitan University, Jack Winkler; Robert Opie of the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising; Margaret Peggie, Vice President of the Fitness League, and Liz Harper, Archivist at The Royal Albert Hall.

Producer Clare Walker.

Available now

28 minutes

Professor Jack Winkler, Jonathan Freedland and Louise Foxcroft look at obesity titles at the Wellcome Collection Library

Professor Jack Winkler, Jonathan Freedland and Louise Foxcroft look at obesity titles at the Wellcome Collection Library

Professor Jack Winkler and Jonathan Freedland at the Wellcome Collection Library

Professor Jack Winkler and Jonathan Freedland at the Wellcome Collection Library

Robert Opie and Jonathan Freedland at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising with an advert for Bile Beans

Robert Opie and Jonathan Freedland at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising with an advert for Bile Beans

Broadcasts

Podcast