Vito Belt - Exqueeze me?

How long have doctors been generally in favor of some kind of exercise? Kinda long, right? Well, it seems that, in 1939, the Hamilton Belt Company (makers of the Vito Belt) surveyed all doctors and - whattya know? - the safest way to get slim was to use their product!

"...excessive exercise may strain his heart" (so don't even try) "... dieting and drugs may be dangerous" (so don't try that either). "Why not take care of that ugly paunch the safe way... with a Vito Belt?"

Right there in the ad, it says that abdominal muscles can become stretched. True enough. However, to actually get rid of a pot belly involving abdominal muscle stretching would require an overall exercise regimen, involving anaerobic and aerobic exercise and abdominal crunches to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Crazy, huh?

But we shouldn't be too hard on this goofy little ad in the April 1939 issue of Popular Science, a magazine which I'm sure was widely read by people of every single body type, and in no way could be said to have a readership made up mostly of flabby nerds. Absolutely not.

After all, it's not like pseudoscience and snake willful ignorance have vanished, here in the bright and shiny information-is-practically-free future we live in. Jenny McCarthy ("Shut up, science, I know what I know, because I'm a mom."), Doctor Oz ("Was that 'Hippocratic' or 'hypocritical'" oath?") and Gwyneth Paltrow ("Magic potions!") spring nauseatingly to mind.

After all, I'm sure the rubber belt worked as advertised. It squoze your belly, which is more than can be said for Dr. Oz's "miracle" drugs or Gwyneth's vagina steamer. Rule of thumb: don't take medical advice from someone trying to sell you something at the same time.


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