There is incontrovertible evidence for the belief that old age is precipitated by absorption of the products of putrefaction from the large bowel. This view was originally suggested by Metchnikoff, who urged that the germs of putrefaction could be replaced or suppressed by certain lactic acid germs present in soured milk, thus inhibiting the putrefaction and preventing the self poisoning which is the chief agent in the senile degeneration of the tissues.”.

“The time will come when centenarians will no longer be so rare as to be subject for comment, and when their appearance will believe their great age if judged by our present conceptions. Mr. Henry Ford has recently announced his determination to live to be a hundred years of age, and to be of service to himself and mankind until he is eighty-five; while Professor Guenoit, the oldest French doctor, who has just celebrated his ninety-eighth birthday, holds that any normally constituted person should be able to live for 100 years of more.

Both declare that most people eat too much, especially too much meat, and both pin their faith to the simple life. A man does not die a natural death as a rule, but kills himself by a gradual process of poisoning, asserts Professor Guenoit; and that is the writing on the wall for all who would live to be healthy centenarians.”.

“Compared with their sisters of past generations our modern women are immeasurably more vigorous and vital. Their athletic figures enable them to indulge in nearly every kind of outdoor sport with most desirable benefits to their health. Nowadays, a woman is no longer content to be old at forty. If her dressmaker as much as hints at a spreading figure, she immediately takes herself in hand and consults the weighing machine with anxious regularity until satisfied that all danger is over.

Of course there have been extremities in this business of slimming. They have over-stepped the borderline between healthy and unhealthy slimness by endeavouring to exist on what was practically a starvation diet. The results in some cases approached very near to disaster, for an undernourished body is the best soil wherein disease can flourish. Generally speaking, however, the pursuit of slenderness on the part of our womenfolk has had beneficial repercussions on their health–so much so, that it is a matter for genuine regret that a similar fashion has not extended the male of the species.

Life Assurance companies have proclaimed that the mortality rate of stout people is considerably higher than that of people of average or underweight, but the ill-effects of obesity are witnessed daily in every branch of medical practice. The way of obesity is the way of unfitness– let there be no doubt on that issue. An unnatural load of fat is an impediment to the working efficiency of all the tissues and organs of the body.

Most significant are the effects of surplus fat on the heart and circulation of the blood. Everyone knows how stout people puff and blow on the slightest exertion, and how they are incapable of any extra effort. A heart constructed for a normal person cannot pump blood throughout the increased bulk of the corpulent without showing signs of wear and tear.

Though a most obliging organ, there are limits to the hearts resistance to strain– especially should the heart itself be infiltrated with fat, a not uncommon happening. This, indeed, is the chief reason why corpulent people are bad subjects for surgical operations necessitating general anaesthetics.

Disorders of the digestive system are exceedingly common in those over weight. Perhaps the main reason for this is that such people are nearly always constipated, a condition inevitably associated with dyspeptic symptoms as well as the more dangerous afflictions such as appendicitis, gastric and duodenal ulcer and gall stones. Owing to involvement of the pancreas, diabetes is also liable to ensue.

Again, the excessive weight strains ligaments, tendons and joints so that we are not surprised at the frequency of arthritis. The muscles, too, are laden with fat, and weaken and lose tone– especially in the case of abdominal muscles — with the result that any tendency to constipation is increased, while certain varieties of hernia are apt to arise.

The lowered power of resistance to germ infections makes the obese subject to diseases such as bronchitis, influenza and pneumonia (which they stand badly) in fact, to any inflammatory condition. The lot of the corpulent from a health point of view can hardly be said to be a happy one.

To discover the cause of obesity may be comparatively simple, but, on the other hand, it may present considerable difficulty. It must be conceded, first of all, that some of us have a physical propensity to leanness and some to fatness. Irrespective of the amount of food consumed we may remain thin or we may tend to put on weight. We are all familiar with illustrative cases.

Undoubtedly, there is some constitutional factor at work, but what it is the physiologists have not yet discovered, though it is believed to be associated with the intensity of functioning of those endocrine or ductless glands which have so potent an effect upon human destiny.

To be practical, by far the commonest cause of corpulence is the continued eating of fuel foodstuffs in excess of the daily requirements. This is particularly likely to occur in the case of people leading sedentary lives. No doubt the daily excess of food may appear trivial, but the effect is cumulative and, once on the road to obesity, it is a hard job to pull up.

Perhaps it is at the meal euphemistically called afternoon tea that most people are tempted to excess. The afternoon tea habit is one of the most insidious, enslaving and pernicious ever cultivated by man. Confined to a cup of tea, it would be innocuous, but supported by pastries, cream cakes and sweet biscuits it becomes a positive menace to good health. I am convinced that it is to the deplorable invention of afternoon tea that innumerable cases of obesity owe their origin.

Middle age is the danger period for those inclined to stoutness. This is especially so in the case of the business and professional classes. After a life of striving they achieve a certain prosperity at this time and there is a great temptation to do themselves well at the table. Not only that, but they tend also to relax their former active recreations of mind and body in settling down to what they consider well earned comfort and ease.

These combined factors quickly increase the girth of the prosperous middle-aged man. In the case of the middle-aged woman, a tendency to stoutness is generally put down to the scheme of Nature and, too frequently, a cant-be-helped attitude is adopted. As a matter of fact it women were to adhere scrupulously to the special hygiene of the change of life, the possibilities of an ungainly figure need not trouble them in the least.

Naturally the accumulation of surplus fat is much easier to prevent than to cure but, unfortunately, it is easy to pass from the state of agreeable plumpness to that of ungainly stoutness before the full significance of the perils is realized. As soon as the ideal weight is passed, therefore, take action immediately. As a rough estimate of correct weight, I give the following suggestion. With a height of five feet six inches, the weight should be ten stones, and five pounds should be added for each inch above it — a slight modification being made according to whether the bony framework is light or heavy.

Limitation of food intake is the principal and most scientific method of weight reduction, but if there is any suspicion of existing organic disease, such a method should never be undertaken without first consulting the doctor. I emphasize the need to start early with dietetic limitation, for if this is carried out the temptation to indulge in drastic starvation cures will be avoided and incidentally the results achieved will be much more lasting. Sensational dietetic systems for fat reduction are fraught with considerable danger”.

W. Arbuthnot Lane
Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, Bt, CB, FRCS, Legion of Honour (4 July 1856 – 16 January 1943), was a British surgeon and physician. He mastered orthopaedic, abdominal, and ear, nose and throat surgery, while designing new surgical instruments toward maximal asepsis. He thus introduced the "no-touch technique", and some of his designed instruments remain in use.
Lane pioneered internal fixation of displaced fractures, procedures on cleft palate, and colon resection and colectomy to treat "Lane's disease"—now otherwise termed colonic inertia, which he identified in 1908—which surgeries were controversial but advanced abdominal surgery.
In the early 1920s, as an early advocate of dietary prevention of cancer, Lane met medical opposition, resigned from British Medical Association, and founded the New Health Society, the first organisation practising social medicine. Through newspapers and lectures, sometimes drawing large crowds, Lane promoted whole foods, fruits and vegetables, sunshine and exercise: his plan to foster health and longevity via three bowel movements daily.