Fat in the 1950s: America’s First Obesity Epidemic

Remarkably, given the enormous recent research, policy and media attention to the global obesity epidemic, it has been overlooked that we have been here before. In 1950 the US Public Health Service and American Medical Association declared obesity to be a deadly mounting epidemic and the leading national health problem. In this project I study the political, cultural, and scientific roots and responses to this epidemic, and how it vanished by the early 1960s despite the ever-increasing American waistline.

(Funded by the Harvard Countway Medical Library)

Research Team:
Nick Rasumussen