Alimentary Obesity

THE vast majority of all fat people, of course, have the alimentary type of obesity, sometimes called the simple type, sometimes the exogenous type. Neither of the two latter terms is correct because, as DuBois says:

“The term exogenous indicates that there is no endocrine disturbance, but that the fault lies either in too much food or too much laziness. It is not strictly exogenous because greediness and laziness certainly rest within the body. Neither is it simple because we often find that the cure is difficult.”

If you are a victim of alimentary obesity you merit no sympathy and deserve all scorn. You may seek to explain and defend yourself but the truth is that you are eating too much or exercising too little. Worse, you probably are doing both.

Fat persons of this type remind me of “Erewhon,” the mythical country that Samuel Butler wrote about. There, if a man falls ill before he is seventy years old, he is taken to court, tried before a jury and if convicted is punished severely. Butler says that he saw a number of Erewhonians imprisoned for eating improperly. And why not?