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'Ponderax' skin fold callipers, obesity booklet and eating guides, Harrow, England, 1967

These objects form part of the ‘Ponderax’ weight loss plan. The plan promoted weight loss through a combination of diet, mainly restricting carbohydrates, and the ‘Ponderax’ drug. This was an appetite suppressant called fenfluramine. The plastic skin fold callipers carried out a ‘pinch test’ to determine the patient’s level of obesity. This was used to calculate the dosage of Ponderax. The Ponderax diet worked on a unit system much like popular weight loss programmes today. Each food is allocated a unit value. These are counted throughout the day. Calorific intake is reduced and unit allowance is not exceeded. Foods are also grouped by the colours red, amber and green. These indicate their health value. Ponderax proved controversial. The drug was linked to thickening of the arteries in some patients. It was produced by Servier Laboratories Limited, France. The weight loss plan is accompanied by a sales letter, dated 1967. The letter is to controversial psychiatrist and medical author Dr Ann Dally (1929-2007).

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Glossary: booklet

Small book consisting of a few sheets that are glued, stitched or stapled together between thin card or paper covers.

Glossary: calliper

Instruments consisting usually of a pair of hinged legs used for measuring dimensions, for example thickness or diameters.

Glossary: nutrition

No description.

Glossary: pamphlet

Complete, nonperiodical printed works generally of fewer than 80 pages, often with a paper cover, sometimes short treatises on arguments or topics of current interest. For smaller printed works, of one sheet folded and not stitched or bound, use "leaflets."