Nothing new under the tree: ‘Maintain Don’t Gain’

posted on November 27, 2013

by John Fagundes, Heritage associate


This illustration appeared in a 1954 issue of Kaiser Permanente’s  Planning for Health member newsletter.

The holidays bring joy and happiness ­­– and often extra pounds.  Kaiser Permanente is offering help with this concern through its “Maintain Don’t Gain” program­­­­ which is available on line.

Weight control and dieting can be tough, especially during the holidays.  A supportive group of friends can get you through it, which is what Kaiser Permanente’s doctors and dietitians realized 50 years ago when they established the Weight Reduction Clinic.

In the mid-1950s, a time of great plenty and expanding prosperity after years of hardship during the Great Depression and World War II food rationing, Americans could eat well, perhaps too well.

Kaiser Permanente was an early promoter of healthy lifestyles and developed a number of educational programs to encourage good nutrition and wellness.

Classes on maintaining health were initiated in medical centers–what we now call Wellness.   One innovation was the Weight Reduction Clinic.

The program began in 1955 — nearly a decade before Weight Watchers swept the nation with its dieting support groups. Each week members got on the scale, and the group discussed diet issues, exchanged success stories, traded recipes and learned exercise tips.

The challenges of dieting could be shared with others going through the same rigors in the 16-week program.

A quote from 1958 Planning for Health seems contemporary in both content and approach:

“Group discussion helps patients examine and change their eating habits as they diet.  People are encouraged by working with others who seek the same goal.  They also get a better understanding of their feelings about eating and overweight — feelings that can undermine a diet if not recognized.”

Some things never change, which is why Kaiser Permanente continues to promote healthy eating during the season of feasts and every other time of year.


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