Old Obesity Saying: “We Dig Our Graves with Our Teeth”

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, January 20, 1914:  Ditto

A recent photo of McEwensville
A recent photo of McEwensville

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share a few fun quotes about the dangers of over-eating from a hundred-year-old article:

A Greater Curse Than the Saloon

The saloon is a curse, we say. And it is. But when we speak of the saloon as the greatest curse in America we are beside the facts. Statistics plainly prove that overeating kills more people.

Kidney diseases and heart troubles are tremendously on the increase in America.  Nor is the rush and strenuous life of America alone to blame. Nor is it alcohol. Both are contributing forces, but the greatest of all is the inability, particularly of men, to eat rightly.

The majority of men overeat. A man at forty cannot do the work of a man at thirty any more than he can at fifty do the work he did at forty. And he cannot and should not eat the same food in quantity. He does not need it.

Physicians agree that after a man or a woman has turned the corner at forty the system no longer needs the same quantity of food required in early manhood or womanhood. It actually does its work better on smaller amounts.

It is an old but true saying that “we dig our graves with our teeth.”

Ladies Home Journal  (February, 1914)

You may also enjoy this previous post:

Are You Obese?: 1911 and 2011

15 thoughts on “Old Obesity Saying: “We Dig Our Graves with Our Teeth”

  1. Wow! I’d never hurt that quote before: it certainly gets your attention!
    Pretty photo; we’re hoping for a dusting of snow here tomorrow…

  2. By the time we reach 40, we are well trained at eating. It’s hard to stop doing something we are good at. I agree, if we don’t, nature will do it for us earlier than we might like.

  3. I’ve never heard that saying! I like it though. There’s something about north America (including Canada) we have the highest level of obesity in the world and mostly it’s the crap we eat (prepared foods, junk food, fast food, etc)

  4. The only difference I see from a hundred years ago is that it is happening much earlier now and I don’t think that fast food or junk food is the culprit. I think it is the amount of food and the lack of physical activity. Getting in the car to go two or three blocks, watching television instead of splitting wood or having a snack instead of pumping two buckets of water.

  5. I like that saying and so very true…it is even more sad that the problem is even worse now than it was then.

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