Medicine: Diet Derby

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Three Chicago women, hired for their heft, last week hopped on scales to show what a week's competitive dieting had done for them. In blatant co-operation to teach rumpy Chicagoans how to reduce were Dr. Herman Niels Bundesen. president of Chicago's Board of Health. Dr. William I. Fishbein, able young brother of the American Medical Association's Dr. Morris Fishbein. and William Randolph Hearst. Mr. Hearst's Chicago Herald & Examiner, which hired the women because their chunky thighs and beefy arms would photograph well, instigated and made great ado over bananas.

Two bananas and a glass of skimmed milk was all the nourishment that Alice Joy received at any meal. Drs. Bundesen and Fishbein also allowed her some coffee and tea (without sugar or cream) and large quantities of water. A week of that diet lost her 4½ lb., brought her down to 135¾ lb., made her whimper: "I'm hungry. And I'm tired. I couldn't lick a kitten."

Felicia Terry followed the same diet, plus a bit of liver at dinner, and fell from 165 lb. to 162 lb.

The third woman, Deon Craddock, followed a mixed diet of cereals, eggs, potatoes, vegetables and ice cream ranging between 1,100 and 1,200 calories per day. After a week she had reduced 2⅜ lb. to 142⅜ lb. The three expect to continue their "diet derby" until the month's end. But they are not altogether happy about the springtime sideshow they are providing for Chicago. Dr. Fishbein gave a lugubrious interview about their glands. Dr. Bundesen was making them believe themselves larded with excess blood vessels. Said he last week to the Herald & Examiner: "Each pound of fat contains 4,500 ft. of blood vessels. So a person 30 lb. overweight has 25 mi. of extra blood vessels." Result of the 21st annual month-long fast during which Harry Wills, walnut-colored retired prizefighter, drank only 1½ to 2 gal. water daily (TIME, April 23) was a 40 lb. loss of weight (245 lb. to 205 lb.). On one occasion "I broke my fast. I was painting one of my apartments, and I was afraid the fumes might turn my stomach. So I drank a bottle of milk to settle my stomach." That day he gained 2 lb. The mother lost 3 lb., the father 2 lb., the maid 3 lb., two of the children 3 lb. each, a third child 1½ lb. Only the 4-year-old son retained his weight when the Rev. Fletcher D. Parker of Hartford, Conn, fed his family for a week at a total cost of $2.24. That sum bought potatoes, pork, lamb, canned milk, butter, flour, rice, prunes and eggs. But no fruit, cereal or fresh milk. Those were the foods, that the amount, on which Hartford social workers last week hoped indigent Hartford families could subsist.