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Health and Long Life

George Cheyne (1673-1743)
An essay of health and long life (London: Printed for George Strahan, and J. Leake, bookseller at  Bath, 1725)
MU Health Sciences Library
Rare Book Room
WZ260 .C521eh 1725

George Cheyne portrait
Image credit: National Library of Medicine

Around 1700, George Cheyne was an unemployed physician scraping by as a mathematics tutor.  By 1705, he suffered a mental and physical breakdown which, ironically enough, focused the rest of his career and life.  His later writings on mental health, diet and physical fitness made him one of the best-known doctors in England.

As a result of his collapse, Cheyne gained a considerable amount of weight.  He lost the weight with a strict diet of milk and vegetables, to which he adhered for most of his life.  He published the diet and described his return to health in An Essay of Health and Long Life.  Cheyne’s writings combined morality and health.  He argued that health was the responsibility of the individual, and that to neglect one’s health was a sin. 

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