A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 15, 2012
“Wait an hour after eating before going swimming”

"Wait an hour after eating before going swimming” is a popular swimming safety adage. The idea behind the adage is that food should be fully digested before a person starts to swim, and that this helps prevent drowning. Modern websites have disputed that a one-hour waiting time period after eating and before swimming is necessary.

“They should always remain at least an hour after eating before entering the water” has been cited in print since at least 1889. “Do not enter the water less than two hours after a hearty meal” has been cited since at least 1900. The two-hour rule was frequently mentioned in newspapers of the 1920s; it became a one-hour rule again by about 1960.


Snopes.com
Claim: Those who go swimming less than one hour after eating will be taken by a cramp and drown.
Status: False.

1 September 1889, Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), “Can We Bathe Too Much?,” pg. 15, col. 2:
Persons shouldn’t bathe in the sea immediately after eating. They should always remain at least an hour after eating before entering the water.

10 August 1900, Semi-Weekly Waterloo Courier (Waterloo, IA), “Rules to Avert Drowning,” pg. 8, col. 7:
Do not enter the water less than two hours after a hearty meal.

3 July 1909, Kalamazoo (MI) Gazette, “Drowning Accidents,” pg. 6, col. 1:
A plunge in the water after a hearty meal is also dangerous and may bring on cramps. Better wait two hours after eating before indulging in a plunge.

25 August 1922, Sheboygan (WI) Press-Telegram, “Water Director Visits Mission Hse. Conference,” pg. 5, col. 6:
Mr. Janovsky explained the necessity for waiting a minimum of two hours after eating before entering the water.

3 July 1923, Riverside (CA) Daily Press, pg. 12, col. 1:
Bathers’ Rules
The Illinois department of health presents some “don’t for bathers” which are applicable to every place where there is a body of water large enough to swim in. THe list includes:

“Wait at least two hours after eating before swimming.”

28 June 1925, Sunday Oregonian (Portland, OR), Magazine Section, pg. 6, col. 2:
Safety First—and Last!
From its long experience, the American Red Cross offers the following rules for swimmers, which, if followed, will prevent many drownings:

Wait until at least two hours after eating before going in the water.

1 July 1926, Spirit Lake (IA) Beacon, pg. 14, col. 2:
Offers Timely Safety
Hints for Swimmers

Chicago.—Some timely safety suggestions for swimmers are contained in a bulletin issued by the National Safety council, which says:
(...)
Wait at least two hours after eating before going swimming.

4 July 1926, Springfield (MA) Republican, “Council Issues Holiday Don’ts,” pg. 2, col. 6:
Wait at least two hours after eating before going swimming.
(Springfield safety council—ed.)

26 July 1929, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “(Red Cross—ed.) Life-Saving Corps Issues Safety Rules,” pg. 16, col. 5:
The rules are:
Avoid heavy meals before going swimming. Don’t swim within two hours after eating.

17 November 1932, San Diego (CA) Union, “Answers to Questions” by Frederic J. Haskin, pg. 4, col. 7:
Q. How long should a person wait after a meal before going swimming?—L. A. L.
A. In order to avoid dangerous stomach cramps, a person should wait at least two hours after eating.

Google Books
Science for Modern Living
By Victor Clyde Smith
Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott
1956
Pg. 172:
To avoid stomach cramps, wait at least two hours after eating before going swimming.

14 June 1959, The Times-Picayune, sec. 4, pg. 11, col. 3:
Wait at least an hour and a half after eating before going swimming.
(Red Cross swimming safety rules—ed.)

7 May 1960, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “Swimming Pools Begin Weekend Schedule Today,” pg. 12A, col. 7:
You must wait an hour after eating before going swimming to avoid cramps.

Google Books
Teaching the Elementary School Child
By Lillian M. Logan and Virgil G. Logan
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
1961
Pg. 609:
Waiting at least one hour after eating before going swimming is vital.

Google Books
Ribsy
By Beverly Cleary
New York, NY: Morrow
1964
Pg. 39:
“You aren’t supposed to eat for an hour before going swimming.”

Google Books
The Modern Encyclopedia of Baby and Child Care
Editor-in-chief: Benjamin Frank Miller; Associate editor: David Harris
New York, NY: Golden Press
1966
Pg. 871:
SWIMMING AFTER MEALS
It has long been recommended that a person should wait at least an hour after a meal before going swimming.

Google Books
Raising a Healthy, Happy Child
By A Frederick North, Richard H. Granger, Catherine S. Chilman and United States Children’s Bureau
New York, NY: McKay
1980
Pg. 197:
He should understand that he must not swim in unguarded or unknown bodies of water: that it is best not to go into the water alone: that it is wise to wait for an hour after a meal before going swimming: ...

Timeless Myths
Waiting After Eating Before Going Swimming
Author: Chris Welsh - Updated: 2 July 2010
(...)
The Waiting After Eating Before Going Swimming Wives Tale
There isn’t a clear origin to this particular wives tale, but it has been persistent for years, going back to the 1950’s and beyond. The idea here is that a child—or anyone, for that matter—that goes swimming after eating risks their very life, thanks to the inevitable stomach cramps that come along with the activity. Yet the very lack of those stomach cramps among those who disobey the “rule” about waiting to go swimming after they eat calls foul on the concept. Those stalwart mothers intent on protecting their young from the evils of digestion gone wrong, however, just say those who avoided the cramps were just lucky, and they will “get theirs” if they keep on breaking the rules. Of course there are those mothers who wonder, while suffering the puppy dog eyes of their young, if they are being silly.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (3) Comments • Sunday, April 15, 2012 • Permalink


Mr. Janovsky explained the necessity for waiting a minimum of two hours after eating before entering the water.

__yes this is good explain,,, Thank for share,

Posted by wholesome baby food  on  04/16  at  07:49 AM

I think the real reason not to swim shortly after eating is the same reason you don’t do any exercise shortly after eating. So you don’t throw up.

When you’re in water it’s harder to tell when you’re working hard because the water keeps you from sweating. I’m sure enough mothers got sick of having their pools puked in so they did what mothers do best and add the scare tactic that the person would drown… rather than just throw up

Posted by Joe Smith  on  04/23  at  11:13 PM

I have to wait anyway. If I swim with a full stomach I get stomach pains.

Posted by stomach pain after eating  on  09/02  at  12:10 PM

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