In the 1920s a new fitness craze hit white America called reducing. As the name suggests, reducing had everything to do with losing weight but very little to do with exercise and correct nutrition.
This was no ordinary weight loss craze. It was an all encompassing movement involving popular media, emerging business markets and a growing white consciousness about the importance of health. So popular had reducing become that by 1925, a contemporary US journalist remarked
“Reducing has become a national pastime, a craze, a national fanaticism, a frenzy.”
Hillel Schwartz would later characterize this craze as less than ideal “the “Roaring Twenties were also the calculating, calorie controlled, ounce-conscious Grim twenties.”
So how did reducing sweep the US nation?