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1980s definatly, and back..Why were people more fit, toned and healthy Looking?

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  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 648 Member Member Posts: 648 Member
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    Gym class in the 60s, needless to say it doesn't look like this today :


    I don't know, my kids do things like Tabata workouts in their gym class and actually try to make being physically active something fun, and alternate that with teaching them about how to be all-around healthy...something that we certainly didn't have when I was in elementary school.
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,636 Member Member Posts: 10,636 Member
    ythannah wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    In the 1980s and before, people were required to move more in their jobs and daily lives (less automation, less market penetration of the automation that did exist). They also moved more, on average, via leisure-time recreation in the pre-internet/fewer-screens world of the time. In the 1980s and before, the 24x7 ubiquitous availability of gazillions of snacks was not even close to what it is now, and there was less social expectation/acceptance of people eating or drinking nearly constantly in virtually all situations.

    The McDonalds here used to close at 10 PM. Now the drive through is 24 hour. No drive through back then, you had to park your car and walk inside to get takeout. When I was in high school we would walk about a mile to go there occasionally, probably burned half the extra calories we ate.

    I had NO CLUE about how CICO worked when I was in college in the mid 90s, nor any clue about calorie content of foods. My friends and I used to go to (no alcohol) clubs for ska shows and would dance and sweat like mad, for literally hours. Then we wound up walking around a mile to McDonald's and I'd get a quarter pounder w/ cheese and small french fry with honey mustard to dip. I was already overweight at the time and didn't understand how I could eat that and not gain tons of weight since it was supposed to be so terrible for me. Looking back I probably could have had a cherry pie too. Makes me laugh!

    This is really not a well thought out comment, so beware...but I feel like today it's considered acceptable and "cool" for pretty young teenage girls to eat Chick-Fil-A, pizza, show off their venti Frappuccinos and the like. Back in the 80s and even 90s it seemed like young women pretended they basically did not eat, ever. Which is also weird. But just a thought.
  • nooshi713nooshi713 Member Posts: 4,450 Member Member Posts: 4,450 Member
    For those arguing that technology, convenience etc has made people fat...countries like Japan, China, India, Thailand have in so many ways, more conveniences and better tech than the US..but its cultural and its personal...people eat less in Asia... Rice and Roti are a huge portion of daily food but yet people are mostly slim. There is this whole " what will people think!" society as well...whereas in the UK and US, the usual mantra is " Dont tell me what to do".

    Yep. They eat less.

    America supersizes everything.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    I believe a lot of technological advances have helped us and hurt us in regards to weight. In the past, women worked hard at home with very few conveniences and that burned a ton of calories. Men also had fewer conveniences in the work place.

    Technology has grown a ton and so has the demand for convenience items as more women have entered the work force. Now both men and women are working, but the need for home upkeep hasn't changed.

    Technology that helps us burn fewer calories:
    Cell phones-- You don't have to walk to a wall phone or pay phone if you are stranded.
    Dishwashers-- Throw it in and let it wash.
    Digital books, movies, music-- you never have to walk into a store, you can just order from your couch
    Grocery services-- You don't have to shop for groceries
    Precooked/precut food-- You don't have to do all that, you can buy it premade.
    Robot Vacuums- Never sweep or mop again.
    Riding lawn mowers--Just sit and go.
    Fast Food-- Just grab and go.

    I think all of these little things add up. And of course, I wouldn't expect people to work 8 hours AND do all this from scratch. It just means we have to be more intentional than what previous generations did, simply because their daily duties helped them to burn more calories.

    Note: Women working isn't new. Historically, many women were engaged in the workforce as maids/household help or in industries like agriculture, textiles, retail, and food production. The picture we have of women staying at home is a pretty small slice of history and narrowly focused on an economically fortunate group of women. Women have always worked.

    Women have always worked, but they didn't always get a paycheck. Yes, women have been engaged in the workforce but I disagree that it's been more a fortunate "slice" that worked in the home. I think there may be a breakdown in how each one describes the workforce vs. the home. I think at home work was equally as demanding and important as going to a factory, and could include things like working the field and wrapping things up for resale, etc.

    Either way, just because women have always worked does not mean they haven't historically been held responsible (in pretty much every culture) to care for the home--not that I support this idea. It is both man and woman's responsibility to do what they see fit in their relationships. My argument is that technology and convenience items has helped to relieve women (and men) of that burden.

    So even though my mom was a single mother who worked 2 jobs, she was still taxed with the responsibility of coming home to burn a ton of calories and work more by cooking and cleaning. As technology advanced and convenience items became more available (when we could afford them) she was able to come home and rest more. So when people say "well my mom worked outside of the home but was still skinny in the 80s" I think there are a ton of small things their mom still had to to when getting home that made a big difference in her weight.

    You wrote that "more women have entered the work force." My point is that women have always been in the work force. In addition to caring for their home (which I agree is work), historically women have been engaged in the economy in other ways. The concept of a household where the man earns all the household money and the woman takes care of the home doesn't describe the economic reality of many women in history. Women traditionally have contributed to the household economy in multiple ways -- by working in family businesses, by going to the homes of others to work, by being enslaved workers, by going to factories or job sites to work, or by taking in work (laundry, sewing, wetnursing, etc).

    I understand your argument about household tasks, I'm just pointing out that our idea of women's economic participation tends to be rather narrow in that many of us imagine that women working is somewhat new.

    Statistically, women's participation in the labor force HAVE increased over the years in the US. This is a graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

    jfpnx2jm93eq.png

    I understand your point about women always contributing to the household economy. I think that maybe cases of enslaved workers, families business, and taking in work, may not have shown up on this list in the 60's.

    However, the OP asked about the 80s and I would think that these numbers would be more accurate. I stand by my previous statement-- more women HAVE entered the workforce.

    This goes back to what I was saying about "a small slice of history." There are more women in the labor force than there were in 1950, but 1950 domestic/labor arrangements are not representative of how women lived throughout history.

    But I wasn't not referring to history as a whole, nor did I see the OP referring to that. I was thinking about the 80s. I even thought through my "technology list" and included things from a more recent history rather than advances from the 1950s, like TV and radio.

    Respectfully, I think your "note" made assumptions about my view of history and nitpicked a small thing I said (that wasn't even incorrect) rather than my overall argument.

    I was more responding to the comment "Now both men and women are working" with some historical context, but I'm sorry I didn't communicate it well.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    JustaNoob wrote: »
    I believe a lot of technological advances have helped us and hurt us in regards to weight. In the past, women worked hard at home with very few conveniences and that burned a ton of calories. Men also had fewer conveniences in the work place.

    Technology has grown a ton and so has the demand for convenience items as more women have entered the work force. Now both men and women are working, but the need for home upkeep hasn't changed.

    Technology that helps us burn fewer calories:
    Cell phones-- You don't have to walk to a wall phone or pay phone if you are stranded.
    Dishwashers-- Throw it in and let it wash.
    Digital books, movies, music-- you never have to walk into a store, you can just order from your couch
    Grocery services-- You don't have to shop for groceries
    Precooked/precut food-- You don't have to do all that, you can buy it premade.
    Robot Vacuums- Never sweep or mop again.
    Riding lawn mowers--Just sit and go.
    Fast Food-- Just grab and go.

    I think all of these little things add up. And of course, I wouldn't expect people to work 8 hours AND do all this from scratch. It just means we have to be more intentional than what previous generations did, simply because their daily duties helped them to burn more calories.

    Note: Women working isn't new. Historically, many women were engaged in the workforce as maids/household help or in industries like agriculture, textiles, retail, and food production. The picture we have of women staying at home is a pretty small slice of history and narrowly focused on an economically fortunate group of women. Women have always worked.

    Women have always worked, but they didn't always get a paycheck. Yes, women have been engaged in the workforce but I disagree that it's been more a fortunate "slice" that worked in the home. I think there may be a breakdown in how each one describes the workforce vs. the home. I think at home work was equally as demanding and important as going to a factory, and could include things like working the field and wrapping things up for resale, etc.

    Either way, just because women have always worked does not mean they haven't historically been held responsible (in pretty much every culture) to care for the home--not that I support this idea. It is both man and woman's responsibility to do what they see fit in their relationships. My argument is that technology and convenience items has helped to relieve women (and men) of that burden.

    So even though my mom was a single mother who worked 2 jobs, she was still taxed with the responsibility of coming home to burn a ton of calories and work more by cooking and cleaning. As technology advanced and convenience items became more available (when we could afford them) she was able to come home and rest more. So when people say "well my mom worked outside of the home but was still skinny in the 80s" I think there are a ton of small things their mom still had to to when getting home that made a big difference in her weight.

    You wrote that "more women have entered the work force." My point is that women have always been in the work force. In addition to caring for their home (which I agree is work), historically women have been engaged in the economy in other ways. The concept of a household where the man earns all the household money and the woman takes care of the home doesn't describe the economic reality of many women in history. Women traditionally have contributed to the household economy in multiple ways -- by working in family businesses, by going to the homes of others to work, by being enslaved workers, by going to factories or job sites to work, or by taking in work (laundry, sewing, wetnursing, etc).

    I understand your argument about household tasks, I'm just pointing out that our idea of women's economic participation tends to be rather narrow in that many of us imagine that women working is somewhat new.

    Just adding one other category: working on the family farm (anything from tending the chickens and cows to working in the fields) (although I suppose it could fall under working in family businesses, but it's not the image that that phrase evokes in mind). My maternal grandmother tended chickens and milked cows helped on two-person jobs on the farm nearly her entire life. The idea that she wasn't in the workforce, but that my grandfather who was tending the field crops and the orchard was in the workforce, seems odd to me (I know that's not what you're saying, Jane).

    Yes, this is a great point. My maternal great-grandparents were farmers and my great-grandmother kept a huge garden to feed the family, cared for the animals, and helped with all the farm tasks. I was thinking of that sort of thing when I wrote that, but historically I'm sure so many American women did similar farming work that it is worth calling out.
  • VailaraVailara Member Posts: 2,133 Member Member Posts: 2,133 Member
    There was a definite fashion for "toned" figures in the '80s so maybe that was reflected in films. It was no longer so fashionable to be ultra skinny or soft and curvy. Think Jamie Lee Curtis in "Perfect", Jane Fonda's fitness videos, etc. Look at the difference between John Travolta's look in Saturday Night Fever (/70s) and Staying Alive (same character in the '80s). Body building became more popular, for men and women, and so did a more muscular look generally.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 45,139 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 45,139 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Here's something you should try to compare though. Look at inmates in the 80's (physique and weight) and now. Guess what? They haven't changed much. There are still very few obese inmates in the penitentiary. Why? Because their food is limited. They eat 3 portioned meals a day. And this ain't even quality food (one of my best arguments against "clean eaters" and "bad food will make you fat" proponents). Yeah some have commissary, but it's just junk food they get from there.
    Still comes down to CONSUMPTION.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

    In Canada the inmate population actually has a higher obesity rate than the general population- and 3/4 of inmates gain significant weight during their sentences. Maybe it’s different in the US?
    Well in the US many inmates have to stay in shape in penitentiaries to FIGHT for their life? Lots of gang members are in prison here, so it's not uncommon to go to a prison here and have many of the inmates working out all the time.


    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 45,139 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 45,139 Member

    Add being time poor, stressed out and broke and you have a recipe for relience on cheap convenience foods.
    This I would figure is a big factor. If you're a family who is struggling to make money, working 2 jobs and little time to cook because you're dead tired, it's EASY to stop at a fast food restaurant and get the 2 for $5 meal that's packed with calories. And if they have kids, and could also be easier than fighting with them to eat their vegetables or corned beef hash for a meal.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • SnifterPugSnifterPug Member Posts: 629 Member Member Posts: 629 Member
    I was a teen in the 80s. I think people were generally a bit slimmer then (talking about the UK, can't speak for elsewhere) but I don't think they were more muscular. Probably less, especially the women, as we were not at all encouraged to do any forms of resistance training. It was aerobics or Callanetics as I recall. I am not aware of men using gyms unless they were into team sports and needed to use a gym - you certainly didn't find gyms everywhere like you do today.
  • deputy_randolphdeputy_randolph Member Posts: 925 Member Member Posts: 925 Member
    So I had a friend in highschool who grew up very poor (early 90s). Her parents did not have the money for "extras" ever. They never kept soda, ice cream etc in the house. Those were very rare treats. She grew up eating only what the family could afford with public assistance (and it wasn't a whole lot of food). They NEVER ate at restaurants or even bought fast food.

    Fast forward to moving out of their house, she and I were roommates. She spent a lot of her own money on soda, daily ice cream, assorted flavored chips...the types of snacks/treats she had not previously had access to. She would eat 1-2 meals daily from fast food places.

    She also went from working 2 lower paying jobs (while still in highschool) to 1 better paying job. Her activity level dropped precipitously. She gained 100 lbs in less than 2 years.

    Her parent's dietary lifestyle (no fast foods, limited portion size, soda/treats were rare) coupled with more active jobs kept her weight in the normal range. Her parent's dietary lifestyle and attitude towards food was more similar to older generations' attitudes towards food (especially my grandparents who grew up during the depression).
    edited March 5
  • Mellouk89Mellouk89 Member Posts: 208 Member Member Posts: 208 Member
    This reminds me of an article I read a while back, it says that the average American man in the 19th century weighed just 137lbs or had a bmi of 20.5. It's crazy to think about.

    Now the average American man has a bmi of 29 or something.

    https://www.rehabs.com/explore/mens-body-image-and-bmi/
  • Noreenmarie1234Noreenmarie1234 Member Posts: 6,631 Member Member Posts: 6,631 Member
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    This reminds me of an article I read a while back, it says that the average American man in the 19th century weighed just 137lbs or had a bmi of 20.5. It's crazy to think about.

    Now the average American man has a bmi of 29 or something.

    https://www.rehabs.com/explore/mens-body-image-and-bmi/

    Wow that is amazing to think about. I hate that being overweight/obese is the norm now.
    SnifterPug wrote: »
    I was a teen in the 80s. I think people were generally a bit slimmer then (talking about the UK, can't speak for elsewhere) but I don't think they were more muscular. Probably less, especially the women, as we were not at all encouraged to do any forms of resistance training. It was aerobics or Callanetics as I recall. I am not aware of men using gyms unless they were into team sports and needed to use a gym - you certainly didn't find gyms everywhere like you do today.

    Even if people had the same amount of muscle now as they did back then, they would probably look a lot more "muscular" back then because they had less fat. Nowadays you wouldn't even see any of that muscle because it's covered in fat for more people. I've had friends who never work out but just lost weight and then BOOM all their muscles pop out and you are like WOW they had all this underneath.
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 642 Member Member Posts: 642 Member
    So I had a friend in highschool who grew up very poor (early 90s). Her parents did not have the money for "extras" ever. They never kept soda, ice cream etc in the house. Those were very rare treats. She grew up eating only what the family could afford with public assistance (and it wasn't a whole lot of food). They NEVER ate at restaurants or even bought fast food.

    Fast forward to moving out of their house, she and I were roommates. She spent a lot of her own money on soda, daily ice cream, assorted flavored chips...the types of snacks/treats she had not previously had access to. She would eat 1-2 meals daily from fast food places.

    She also went from working 2 lower paying jobs (while still in highschool) to 1 better paying job. Her activity level dropped precipitously. She gained 100 lbs in less than 2 years.

    Her parent's dietary lifestyle (no fast foods, limited portion size, soda/treats were rare) coupled with more active jobs kept her weight in the normal range. Her parent's dietary lifestyle and attitude towards food was more similar to older generations' attitudes towards food (especially my grandparents who grew up during the depression).

    I think a thing with this has to do with making those things 'treats' and making them limited resources/scarce/get 'em while the getting is good thing. This is exactly what happened to me. It has taken me YEARS to stop thinking of some junk food as a limited edition thing I have to get or risk never having again AND a sign of financial security.

    I don't know what the answer is, I really don't. 'You can have the donut if you want it, it's just food' but not 'donuts are our breakfast three days a week' maybe.
    edited March 7
  • AntiopelleAntiopelle Member Posts: 811 Member Member Posts: 811 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I just don't see why people feel the need to overcomplicate this.

    In the 1980s and before, people were required to move more in their jobs and daily lives (less automation, less market penetration of the automation that did exist). They also moved more, on average, via leisure-time recreation in the pre-internet/fewer-screens world of the time. In the 1980s and before, the 24x7 ubiquitous availability of gazillions of snacks was not even close to what it is now, and there was less social expectation/acceptance of people eating or drinking nearly constantly in virtually all situations.

    Add that context to a species that evolved under contingencies of food shortage, and that's more than enough to explain an obesity crisis that only needs a low number of hundreds of daily calories as its explanation.

    Occam's razor. Simplez.

    No need to posit plots by Big Food or nefarious effects of food-product ingredients. I think people bring those in to have an external locus of blame. We did it ourselves. Most of us could undo it, if we really wanted to.

    The bolded !
    My family (in Belgium) was middle class in the 80s. We had a car that was kept in the garage during the week. My father and us children took our bikes to go to work or school in the rain or even when it was freezing (and we came back home for lunch, so twice the distance every day), my mother did all the grocery shopping on foot using a shopper on wheels and all meals were homecooked, not necessarily with loads of vegs. All the free time of us kids was spent on bikes as that was the core of our social lives, we would go everywhere on those, even during wintertime.
    In the weekends, my father would drive somewhere nice for recreation, which usually were walks outside in the summertime and bowling alleys or iceskating in the winter. We often would go to a good restaurant on Saturday evening, where we were also getting some meal cooked from scratch, as there were no fastfood restaurants nearby. What we also did (maybe once every two weeks), was getting chips from the local chipshop which were almost literary on every street corner, but all those calories were easily burned by moving a lot more. We weren't toned, we didn't eat "healthily" but we certainly weren't obese. In our middle sized town (35.000 people), there was ONE (1) obviously morbidly obese lady and she was being treated cruelly by children who called her names because of her size. And whenever we kids tended to overeat on treats, we were quickly reminded that we didn't want to become like her.
    I started to put on weight when I started university at 18. My living dorm was on campus and I had a very small walk from my room to classes. I hardly didn't have the time to move anymore but kept on eating the same quantities. And I was introduced to fastfood in 1989: my first pizza, my first Mac, milkshake, etc... Combined with our very limited knowledge of fitness and diet, it all went downhill from there ...
  • Mellouk89Mellouk89 Member Posts: 208 Member Member Posts: 208 Member
    If you look at construction workers in the United States for example they are more likely to be overweight and obese compared to white collar workers, even though they move a lot more in their daily occupation. I think nutrition is the biggest factor, and other factors have to be taken into account like socioeconomic factors.

    And also demographics, Hispanics in general have a higher obesity rate than Asians and Whites. And they are overrepresented in construction work.
    edited March 8
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