Daily Chronicle, October 3, 1903

1 [The “Lancet” says that fat babies are always unhealthy.]

O Time, our beliefs you destroy;
 Our fondest illusions you shatter.
It once used to fill us with joy,
 Whenever our babies grew fatter:
Our hearts, ever anxious, it cheered,
 As we marked them grow daily more tubby,
And saw how their ribs disappeared,
 And their cheeks became bulbous and chubby.

Those days are, alas! at an end.
 No more the glad father announces
To every relation and friend,
 “He’s put on a couple of ounces!”
Ah! no, as each infant we weigh,
 We groan if his figure increases:
It fills us with pain and dismay—
 No baby, if healthy, obese is.

In future, oh! newly-made dad,
 You must strictly taboo any dish you
Consider is likely to add
 To your babe’s stock of adipose tissue.
Rejoice if you find that your son’s
 Inclined to be meagre and skinny;
Just think of the danger he runs,
 If he needs a large waist to his pinny.

In future all infants must train,
 Avoid every food in which starch is,
From sweets they must wholly refrain,
 And go in for a course of route marches.
And when through its delicate skin
 With glee papa marks the bones start, he
May then (and then only) begin
 To look on his baby as hearty.

P. G. W. 




The June 20, 1903 issue of the medical journal Lancet took on the subject of overweight babies: “A fat baby competition . . . was one of the most popular holiday attractions at Walthamstow. Mothers are proud of their young hopefuls if they are a mass of curves and dimples with deep folds at all the joints and cushions of fat that conceal the anatomy so effectively as to make them formless little masses of humanity. Fat babies to the touch are cold, gelatinous and flabby, with none of the elasticity and tone characteristic of the vigorous, healthy baby. This represents the true state of the fat baby which is rather a pathological specimen than the model of health they are considered to be by the judges at the baby shows.”

John Dawson