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Obesity and Diet in Byzantium

Obesity and Diet in Byzantium

By Tascha Chedore

Byzantium and Education Project

Byzantine Food

Abstract: Obesity is a serious health concern in today’s society. Inactivity and poor diet are two of the most common factors that contribute to gaining excessive weight. So, health practitioners recommend a healthy diet and exercise or very low calorie diets, and sometimes they recommend drug therapy, such as appetite suppressants, and surgical procedures. Obesity has been becoming more of an issue in the 21st century than ever before. It is most likely because of the huge portions sizes and the huge amounts of fast food that people eat and as technology grows people become lazier.

The people of Byzantium did not have fast food around every corner, nor did they have video games and big screen televisions. So, when thinking about the Byzantine Empire, obesity is not really a health concern that comes to mind. The research proves that it did exist though. In this report, I will list some of the causes and consequences of obesity in the Byzantine Empire. However, the aim of this report is to provide evidence to demonstrate that Byzantine physicians had treatments for obesity that are similar to modern day.

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The primary source, the map, provides a visual aid to demonstrate the area of Byzantine, which is the region where the physicians that will be discussed lived and worked. Primary source images showing evidence of the obese persons were not found when researching this topic due to limited time and limited resources. The secondary sources provide information to prove the existence of obesity during the Byzantine era and they provide a lot of information on the treatments of obesity offered by physicians during the Byzantine eras. Many similarities in treatments to modern day are discussed.

The secondary sources also provide some information on the causes and consequences of obesity. However, it was difficult to find a lot of information on the causes and consequences of obesity because the research is mostly from the view of the physicians who were concerned with prescribing treatments. In addition, only a small amount of information was mentioned on how obesity affected people in society,as limited resources were available to address this area of the topic. Whether it was most common in men, women, or children, young, old, or middle age is not indicated in the research either. However, a couple of examples were given by some of the Byzantine physicians.

Click here to read this article from Theodore Christou’s website 

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