August 18, 2011

A Funny History of "Health"

Over the years, I have accumulated a little collection of old health advertisements that I found pretty funny, pretty disturbing, or just plain stupid. I was cleaning off my desktop the other day when I came across said collection and thought it would be cool to share it. Although you may have seen some of these, I'm thinking you haven't seen all of them. When you chuckle or gasp think about how we sell health and weight loss really hasn't changed all that much (just the way we try to get there).

This looks like it's from the 1970's. Eat your cereal, clean your house, and lose your fat! Thanks General Mills.

I was completely ignorant to the history of cocaine in North America. Evidently, it was selling like hotcakes! Go figure.

This is my personal favorite. Not too long ago, Docs everywhere were touting the benefits of smoking. It makes me wonder what they are touting now that we will come to understand as hazardous for our health. Botox? Lap Band surgery? How about anti-depressants?

I am old enough to remember these. My mother had them in the medicine cabinet. I used to sneak one or two thinking they were chocolates....maybe that's what's wrong with me!

Does this child even look chubby? "....for girls and teens too chubby to fit into regular sizes" Do we still see this today?

Yup. If you google "fat loss soap" you will still see this product alive and well. In addition, I believe they sell fat loss tights (made with the fat loss power of caffeine).  Psst...wanna a tape worm to go with those tights?

There's nothing like blaming someone else for your own "short comings" gotta love this poster though. Although the message is completely whack, it makes me giggle every time I see it.

Since when did this ever happen? For me, sugar is the oxygen to my flame. The more I eat, the more I want.

Now that's what I'm talking about. Do they have this with a wine message???

If we could only turn back time, eh?

Ya...we may laugh at this, but we still continue to make (and buy) machines like this now. Anyone heard of the vibration machine for fat loss or the electrical stimulation machine by Dr. Ho? Is that a smoke in her hand?????

Poor little guy. The men weren't left out of the body ideal marketing either....and they certainly aren't today.

Ya.....sure it is. Did you know in the 1800s doctors would make house calls to affluent women to "relax" them with equipment like this (in the name of stress management)? I believe, today, there's another name for it.

Nothing's changed. Obviously, as a nation, we aren't buying these books. Check out Charlie's tighty whities...they almost go up to his belly button.
In the late 1800's the first gyms started popping up (thanks to a guy names Zander). It was a "progressive era" noted for social reform and a new attitude about health (they believed that exercise would prevent VD).  Interestingly, this was also the beginning of the integration of morals and health and we continue to carry this torch today. Above is the first ab-roller ever! This was also the age of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (of Kellogg's cereal fame). He was an avid health enthusiast with unorthodox practices and beliefs. He ran one of (if not the) first health spa for the rich, providing each patron with up to 6 enemas a day! Henry Ford was one of the many famous clients.

We still see the magnet booths at every "wellness fair" touting the health benefits of wearing magnetic bracelets, shoe inserts, and other crazy notions. Many people swear by them, although research has suggested it's mind over matter.

God love this machine. This comes from Zander himself. In fact, one of the first gyms in the late 1800s included rooms full of these machines (Zander Rooms). All you do is slip into it and watch the fat just jiggle right off your body. Scary enough, I saw one of these machines still be used in the 90's at a gym in my home town.

This machine provides the user with multiple uses for the abs, back of the arms, butt, and ....back? Seriously, what the hell were we thinking? This isn't all that old...I'm guessing late 60's early 70's????

That's all I have to share for now. I hope you have enjoyed a quick glimpse at where we have come from as it relates to health, weight loss, and fitness promotion. Once you see it in front of you, you start to realize that we really haven't come that far. Sure, we understand more of the physiology behind exercise, but I don't see much application of what the science is telling us in the industry. For example, there is no such thing as cellulite! This is a word invented by the cream people. In addition, sit ups or any trunk work will not get rid of any belly fat you may want to get rid just doesn't work that way.

Again, a healthy diet coupled with daily physical activity is the key. After 100s of years we still search for an easier way to get 'er done. I guess that is what industry is all about.

That's all I got for now.

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