instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

How did the overweight “ideal woman” of 1912 fared as concerns longevity?

Many journalistic articles recently have been reporting that being overweight makes you live longer. Few articles, however, seriously analyze this happy “news.”

One example is the amply reported case of Elsie Scheel, a 24 year old Cornell student, who was 5’7” tall and weighed 171 lbs. and was declared in 1912 to be "the ideal woman" as far as health. (Also beauty). The year 2013 started with articles and blogs proposing that we adopt the health and beauty standards of 1912, embodied in Elsie. The New York Times starts the year 2013 with an article about her. (January 1, 2013).

The often quoted article about Elsie reports that her favorite food is beefsteak, and that she says her good health comes from being sensible, unlike other students who study too much, and that she has no fears.

None of the articles I saw about Elsie Scheel, including the one in The New York Times, report that, following the publication of the article in 1912 declaring her "the perfect woman" for good health and beauty, other articles quoted physicians and physical education instructors declaring Elsie overweight and far from "the perfect woman."

So, how did Elsie Scheel fared as concerns longevity? Based on the findings of a number of bloggers, her mother, a physician, had five children and graduated from medical school at the same time as her son. No doubt, she did study very hard. She died at age 93. Elsie's sister graduated from Cornell and became a professional. She also died at age 93. Elsie’s highest degree was high school, she never finished Cornell. She worked as a secretary for a charity organization. She died at age 88.

These facts I know: my grandmother was thin all her life, ate hardly any beef and worked very hard. She died at age 105 and 9 months. She lived 17 more years than the “ideal woman” Elsie Scheel, who was overweight, ate lots of beef and didn't work very hard.
Be the first to comment