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BMJ. 2007 September 8; 335(7618): 512.
PMCID: PMC1971214

Evil in the United States in 1834

Eating too much, and of unwholesome articles, is a national evil in the United States; and were I to add, a national disgrace, the charge would not be too severe . . . It is much easier to procure the means of indulging to excess, in the United States, than in any other country . . . mankind are prone to the gratification of the palate, and other animal appetites, in proportion to the facilities of indulgence they enjoy. I confidently believe, that the thirteen or fourteen millions of people, inhabiting this country, eat more rash, for amusement, and fashion's sake, and to pass away idle time, than half the inhabitants of Europe united. Unquestionably they consume a greater amount of such articles, in the proportion of five to one, than an equal number of the people of any other country I have ever visited.


Caldwell C. Thoughts on physical education. Boston: Marsh, Capen and Lyon, 1834: 51-2

Submitted by Jeremy Hugh Baron, honorary professorial lecturer, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York

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