why were people so skinny in the 70s?

14344464849

Replies

  • jennifer_417
    jennifer_417 Posts: 12,347 Member
    Cheap food wasn't as readily available as it is now, more things are automated now, plus of you're going by people you see on media, thinner people are probably overrepresented compared to the whole population.
  • Pastaprincess1978
    Pastaprincess1978 Posts: 371 Member
    edited May 2018
    Fast food was more expensive, more of a luxury. Kids were allowed outside to play more - not many alternatives. Portion sizes all around were smaller.
  • deucesarewild1
    deucesarewild1 Posts: 36 Member
    edited May 2018
    Prescription diet pills like fenfluramine, phentermine, and phenylpropanolamine. Also ephedra to a lesser degree.

    Cocaine was pretty significantly more popular in the 90s than the 70s, yet waistlines still grew so I'll say it was not coke. Meanwhile the belt got tightened on the use of prescription weight loss drugs around the 90s.
  • lucerorojo
    lucerorojo Posts: 790 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    I see a lot of people mentioning playing outside. As a child of the 70's all of that outside playing didn't keep me from gaining weight as an adult it only kept me more fit then. I don't doubt it is a factor in childhood obesity today but if the adults were thinner you'd have to look at their eating and activity.

    There were a few chubby kids in my area, but from K-8 (I was born in 1965) I only remember one obese boy, and NONE in high school and I went to a highschool with 3200 students. Although my mother had a car, I did not learn to drive until 25 (and still haven't ever had a car) so that had something to do with it--I grew up in New York City. You walked or took public transportation. And if you took the bus or subway you had to GET to it (walking) and also most likely had to stand up part of the way.

    Adults were considerably thinner. My mom has some coats that belong to my grandmother and when I was a child and teen, she was plump and probably the biggest you would see women those days in the 1970s. I tried on one of her coats at when I weighed about 175 lbs. (I'm 193 now, on my way to 137) and I could not button it. I also wore one of my mother's coats when I was in college, as well as some of her dresses that she wore in her late teens and 20s. I was about 115 lbs. and a size 3 or 5 at the time (today's 00 or something like that). The majority of teens and women today are not the size of my mom, but more the size of my grandmother who was considered plump at 5'7" and probably 150 lbs.
  • Snickers2424
    Snickers2424 Posts: 15 Member
    Gosh, such great answers. Less fast food, more walking, less couch potatoing, and Portion Sizes are a huge difference. Plus, sugar is now in just about everything! Even fast food salads have added sugar. We ate dessert, but sugar wasn’t in everything else we ate. Good post
  • mutantspicy
    mutantspicy Posts: 624 Member
    Just out of curiosity has anyone actually confirmed that people in the 70s were skinnier than they are now?
    I mean objects appear larger on instragram than they do in real life. That and boob jobs and butt injections.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited May 2018
    Just out of curiosity has anyone actually confirmed that people in the 70s were skinnier than they are now?

    Yes, there are statistics kept. There were plenty of fat adults, but fat children were quite rare and the obesity and overweight numbers were lower than now (and average BMI was lower).
  • CarvedTones
    CarvedTones Posts: 2,340 Member
    I was skinny because I was an teen/young adult...
  • mutantspicy
    mutantspicy Posts: 624 Member
    2aycocks wrote: »
    I was a teen in the 70's. My mother cooked and we ate at home. She didn't fix prepacked food for convenience and it was meat and vegetables. And whatever she fixed, you ate it or did without.
    Eating out was a treat and it was RARELY crap. Kids were outside running and playing instead of sitting inside playing video games. We didn't keep colas or sugar drinks at home. You got milk or water. We didn't keep sweets all the time either, except Nilla Wafers. My Mother worked a lot of that time but managed to get everything done and cook good meals. I don't know how she did it all.

    I was a child in the 70s and the following were our general meals:

    Breakfast: bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs, white bread toast lathered in butter, cereals like Captain Crunch / Lucky Charms / Cookie Crisp / Count Chocula / Fruity Pebbles that basically consisted of globs of sugar and food dyes, orange juice, and chocolate milk (sometimes). Occasionally grease was used from the bacon or sausage to make gravy and then it was poured over biscuits saturated in butter.

    Lunch: nitrates infused bologna (with uncertain meat-like contents), mayonnaise, cheese, and white bread sandwiches, Little Debbie snacks, and bags of Fritos/Lay's/Cheetos/Doritos/etc. in our brown bag lunches. In high school, my daily lunch was a bowl of greasy chicken nuggets, some sort of dip, a candy bar, and a Coke, occasionally sneaking off to McDonalds.

    Dinner: while we did have vegetables with each meal (although often fried), grease (Crisco was a staple) and breading were the norm, sugary drinks like Hawaiian Punch and Kool-Aid (in addition to milk) were served, and butter and salt were liberally applied.

    I just shared to show that we weren't very discriminating with our diet and didn't eat anything resembling a "healthy" diet. We simply ate things in smaller portions and were physically active all of the time. Video games were just coming out and we were allowed to play them sometimes during the evening or on rainy days, but otherwise, we were outside on our bikes, running around, or playing sports.

    Epilogue: this diet hit my parents hard when they reached their 40s and beyond. High cholestrol, hypertension, pre-diabetic, heart issues, strokes, etc. Both were popping a medicine cabinet's worth of prescription pills every day and having medical procedures done constantly. I'm approaching my 50s and have none of this because I eat differently and excercise.

    Sounds like we had the same childhood! I don't remember people being nearly as health conscience as they are today back in the 70s. Although I not so sure about the whole, back in the day we were more active thing. That reeks of the whole, "when I was kid we had walk 4 days thru snow filled mountains to get to school" Sure maybe some of the younger gen xers and millenials were a little more prone to being video game junkies, but today I walk my dog daily and I see kids playing all up and down the streets. Scooters, bikes, roller blades, etc. Actually the kids today have way more options for outdoor activities than we had. Except lawn jarts :( no one gets to impale anyone anymore. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
  • laur357
    laur357 Posts: 896 Member
    Look. My mum was very thin. So was my dad. Was it because they replaced one or two of their meals each day with black coffee and cigarettes? Who knows.
  • mph323
    mph323 Posts: 3,566 Member
    edited May 2018
    Just out of curiosity has anyone actually confirmed that people in the 70s were skinnier than they are now?
    I mean objects appear larger on instragram than they do in real life. That and boob jobs and butt injections.

    I'm pretty sure if you go back a bunch of pages toward the beginning there are a couple of charts that show the rise of obesity in America over time. I think that the general fact that the median weight for the population as a whole has increased is pretty well established. The debate is mostly about why - and people's real-life experiences of living in the 70's.

    I realize the comment was posted for the purpose of working "boob" and "butt" into the conversation, but I thought it would be useful for current posters to know there is actual evidence that the population in general is fatter now than in the 70's. :)

    eta: grammar
  • RaeBeeBaby
    RaeBeeBaby Posts: 4,323 Member
    I grew up in a family of 7 people with childhood mostly during the 70's. We had enough to eat, but rarely second helpings. My mom would say "the kitchen is closed" between meals, so we were pretty hungry by dinnertime. We didn't necessarily eat the healthiest food (similar to above poster about cereals, bologna, and white bread - don't forget the fish sticks and frozen french fries) but we didn't have mass quantities of it. Mom would also tell us to go outside and play and we'd be running around, riding bikes or at the pool for hours. Fast food was about once a month to McD's and we were limited by what we could order (small burger, fries and MAYBE a small shake).

    Funny, but to this day Mom's pretty proud of the fact that none of her children were fat kids. We're all fairly healthy weight adults, too. Happy Mother's Day, Mom! You did good! :heart:
  • bduanemyfitness
    bduanemyfitness Posts: 54 Member
    I would say portion size (when we had a Pepsi/Coke, 12oz was shared...no such thing as a huge 64oz GULP). We ate at home almost all the time, going out was a huge treat and very infrequent (not even once a month). So the portion sizes were smaller. Also, limited time to be a couch potato. My siblings (and I) that were out of HS in the 70s were all "thinner".

    My youngest sibling was born in 1973 and has ended up with weight issues and these really surfaced in the late 80s. The big difference was going out to eat (bigger portion size) a lot. My parents were a bit older, only one child at home, more disposable income, more out to eat options, etc. So they started going out to eat a lot in the late 80s. And to some degree, more couch time for my youngest sibling. She had some organized sports (mom would drive her to these activities). We had something going on all the time...mostly just going outside and having totally unstructured play with our buddies.
  • xOlaf
    xOlaf Posts: 39 Member
    One reason is we now have drive thru's everywhere. People can sit in the comfort of their own car and order heaping amounts of food for a small price. Heck, we now even have drive thru's for banks and pharmacies. It's a sad situation all around... I read that in America, 7/10 people are considered overweight or obese. It's an epidemic and I'm a part of that statistic, unfortunately.
  • jjalbertt
    jjalbertt Posts: 98 Member
    People were more active and gluttony/fast food was a rare thing. Now a days people have as much food as they want 24/7 and we're all sitting around. It's just a different mind set for most people in the western world.
  • TonyB0588
    TonyB0588 Posts: 9,520 Member
    I was born in 1973. I used to always play out after school, climbing trees etc. as there weren't any gaming console's or tablets/smart phones. We used to walk everywhere too.

    Exactly!! This is what made all the difference.
  • TonyB0588
    TonyB0588 Posts: 9,520 Member
    The idea that any one single thing made people fat is silly anyway. Eating cereal didn't "make me hungry", I had emotional reasons for overeating as a kid and used to gorge myself after school when I was alone and stress eat. It wasn't that I was particularly hungry when this happened either. I just wanted food. As I said, it was emotional.

    Both my sister and I ate cereal for breakfast, and while I was overweight, she most certainly wasn't.

    It's really tempting to point blame, but obesity is a very complex issue and people get fat for a lot of different reasons.

    Sorry. I must have missed a few pages. Is someone suggesting now that eating cereal is bad for you??

    I eat cereal EVERY day and I'm not fat. Never was.
  • GottaBurnEmAll
    GottaBurnEmAll Posts: 7,722 Member
    edited May 2018
    TonyB0588 wrote: »
    The idea that any one single thing made people fat is silly anyway. Eating cereal didn't "make me hungry", I had emotional reasons for overeating as a kid and used to gorge myself after school when I was alone and stress eat. It wasn't that I was particularly hungry when this happened either. I just wanted food. As I said, it was emotional.

    Both my sister and I ate cereal for breakfast, and while I was overweight, she most certainly wasn't.

    It's really tempting to point blame, but obesity is a very complex issue and people get fat for a lot of different reasons.

    Sorry. I must have missed a few pages. Is someone suggesting now that eating cereal is bad for you??

    I eat cereal EVERY day and I'm not fat. Never was.

    Yeah, someone did, a few pages back.

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/comment/41953558/#Comment_41953558