Podcast: A history of slimming

Published in Good Housekeeping, October 1962 - Vol. 155 No. 4. [Flickr, CC BY-SA]

In our latest podcast Dr Myriam Wilks-Heeg talks about the history of slimming and how it became an obsession for women in post-war Britain.

The weight loss market in the US is estimated to be worth 66 billion dollars. Europe isn’t too far behind that at 44 billion. It is big business and while its expansion has kept pace with our growing waist lines, its origins can be traced, oddly enough, to a time when food was scarce.

“The end of food rationing marked the beginning of a modern slimming culture, which has since permeated all aspects of women’s lives,” Dr Wilks-Heeg, a lecturer in twentieth century history at the University’s Department of History, explains.

From the buttermilk diet, to the air hostess diet, Dr Wilks-Heeg looks back through the archives of women’s magazines that have offered slimming advice to their readers throughout the decades. She also considers society’s changing attitudes to diet, exercise and public health.

Listen to the podcast by following the links below:

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About the podcast

Our podcasts are produced in collaboration with the University of Liverpool online programmes team, Hosted by Canadian journalist and producer Neil Morrison, we aim to bring listeners closer to some of our academic experts, authors and innovative thinkers who are affecting positive change in the world today. Visit our podcast page to learn more.

Get involved

If you would like to contact our podcast with feedback or suggestions for future recordings please e-mail news@liverpool.ac.uk

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