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President Taft Left His Mark On Obesity Care

Update Date: Oct 15, 2013 09:36 AM EDT

If legends are to believed, former president of U.S. William H. Taft was once stuck in a White House bathtub and butter was used to remove him, reports Washington Post. 

A new report of letters exchanged between the late William H. Taft and his doctor shows that the former president once struggled with his weight.

Deborah Levine, an assistant professor of health policy and management at Providence College in Rhode Island reported that in 1905 when Taft was the secretary of war, he signed up for the help of an English diet expert to overcome with his obesity.

“No real gentleman weighs more than 300 pounds,” Taft often commented, according to Levine.

Taft was advised to exercise more and he began every day with “a tumbler of hot water with lemon”. It was then followed by a breakfast of “unsweetened tea or coffee, ‘two or three Gluten biscuits’ and 6 ounces of lean grilled meat,” Levine writes.

Dr. Nathaniel E. Yorke-Davies of London used to send Taft a list of foods that the president should take or skip. Yorke-Davies also advised Taft to weight himself everyday and report back the same every week in a letter.

In the first letter to Yorke-Davies, Taft wrote that he wanted to loose weight to relieve several conditions which included indigestion, heartburn and fatigue. Finally at a price the doctor agreed to help Taft.

“Everybody says that I am looking very well, which indicates I suppose that I have a good color,” wrote Taft to his brother about his diet, according to GMA News “but I am pretty continuously hungry. That, however, is a good symptom. I suppose.”

Taft was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 354 pounds when he was inaugurated as president in 1909. With these figures he would still have been considered obese by today’s standards.

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