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

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  • MinTheKitCatMinTheKitCat Member Posts: 171 Member Member Posts: 171 Member
    Cocaine, lots and lots and lots of cocaine!!
  • Minion_training_programMinion_training_program Member Posts: 10,814 Member Member Posts: 10,814 Member
    Very easy, people just got out more, moved more. Less take out food/fast food restuarants.
  • daneejeladaneejela Member Posts: 459 Member Member Posts: 459 Member
    Born in the 80s, I don't remember them well, but I do remember the early 90s (South-East Europe)...I don't know what were statistics at the time, but I have a feeling that child obesity was much less common. We had a single overweight girl in my elementary school class. At the present, numbers go as high as 35% of kids being overweight.

    I am not sure what was the biggest change between now and then. We were not eating any form of a "clean diet" for sure, but I guess junk food was much less used. Homecooked, simple meals were what 99% of families ate back then. It was the time of war in Croatia, so we haven't had much money, so sweets were very occasional treats.
    Having icecream was an event! I had my first pizza when I was around 12 and that was also a very special event when mum would feel inspired enough to make it :D. We were not hungry, and my family was not considered poor, it was just normal for us.

    Another thing, as kids, I feel we were much more involved in the physical world around us. Some kids did have games like Nintendo, and we occasionally played it, but most of the time (like 90% of the time) we were playing some games that included lots of movement, jumping, running, etc. For example, we would spend whole mornings or afternoons jumping over an elastic or regular rope, competing who would have the longest strike. It was HIIT training done for hours.

    edited February 9
  • seltzermint555seltzermint555 Member Posts: 10,676 Member Member Posts: 10,676 Member
    Very easy, people just got out more, moved more. Less take out food/fast food restuarants.

    I definitely agree. So many good points throughout this thread. Even the one about only soaps on TV...relatable. I remember being a kid in the 80s and there was so much fun stuff to watch on MTV, Nickelodeon, etc. A decade earlier I probably would have been more active outdoors without those...a decade later, I was online and more sedentary.

    Purely anecdotal but I recall being one of maybe a dozen plus-size girls in a HUGE high school, in the early to mid 90s. Now roughly HALF the teenage girls I know are size 14+.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,323 Member Member Posts: 24,323 Member
    ythannah wrote: »
    A couple of things that have added to the trend of upward weight and waistlines is the increase in cheap fast food and convenience foods (loaded with fat/sugar) in peoples diets and the introduction of the computer, which influences more sitting than former generations ever did. I was born in the late 1950's, grew up in the 60's. It was rare to see a fat kid, rare to see anyone morbidly obese. Now, it's common.

    This. I was born a few years later, early 60s, but same observations. I remember only two fat kids in school, and one went on a fitness kick the summer before high school and lost all the extra weight (and kept it off). We had 12 channels on TV so there was way less interesting stuff to watch, we mostly played outside and stayed active. Home computers were in their infancy, "games" were on a big machine that you played in an arcade. Fast food was an occasional treat, not an everyday event.

    No, we weren't all doing recreational drugs to keep our weight down :D We were just way less sedentary, and less reliant on convenience food.

    Yes, there was only one fat kid in my grade in the 70s and 80s.

    I used to ride my bike several miles to get to tennis lessons. I walked to dance lessons. I played outdoors.
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 760 Member Member Posts: 760 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Snacks were apples.

    63aa7bc80ce8cddade72e11a00247fef.jpg

    And we got an orange in the toe of our stocking for Christmas.

    My kids actually still get 2 fruits each in their stocking (apple/mango or mango/pear, depending on the kid). Unlike me as a kid, they actually EAT their fruit before it goes rotten! They need to eat a fruit and/or veggie at every meal, though.

    I've been thinking about this post and why is it that we continue to get fatter as a country (and other countries as well), despite not only knowing more than ever about health, weight loss and exercise, but in general having a lot more access to these resources as well.

    I don't think people ate "healthier" foods back in the 80's and before then more so than now, as what was considered healthy has changed over the years (and continues to change). People were just as weight/image conscious in the past (if not more so), so obsession with how we look and how big or small we are is nothing new. However, I think 1. Portion sizes have grown over the years; 2.Access to foods, especially convenience foods and take-out/fast food has increased dramatically; 3. Snacking, and especially mindless snacking seems to have grown (although I definitely remember having snacks regularly as a kid in the 80's and 4. Way more stationary activities take up our time, like TV (so many ways/things to watch now), computer and video games and 5. Driving to more places as the suburban sprawl continues to happen.

    I was interested in how drugs may have played a part in this, as I feel like I remember reading or seeing somewhere that amphetamines were a thing that doctors handed out like candy for anybody who said they needed to lose weight. OK, maybe not that quite dramatically, but I did do a little internet digging. I found some interesting articles, and it does seem amphetamines were regularly prescribed for weight loss until the late 70''s when oops--turns out they're actually pretty unsafe for most people. I also remember in the 90's that Phen-Fen was being touted as the next big weight loss drug, but oops again--pretty unsafe, and pulled from the market. I remember buying some supplements in I think in the early 00's that contained ephedra, but I don't think those are allowed to be sold in the US either (or at least they weren't, maybe that's changed now). I don't think the use of drugs or lack thereof has contributed significantly to the obesity epidemic, but it does seem the US in particular has a history of using these a little indiscriminately to aid in weight loss, even in people who may not have been that overweight.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/nm0612-843

  • Ddsb11Ddsb11 Member Posts: 607 Member Member Posts: 607 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    It was the big hair that made people look slimmer.

    Perspective from someone born in 1960...
    Never quite sure what people mean by "toned" but no as a generalisation they weren't more muscular if that's what you mean, they were just lighter and slimmer than the average now.
    Compare sprinters or rugby players then and now for example.

    Both in sports and the fashionable/desirable "look" more muscle is far more in vogue now than it was then.
    It was rare to see women in the free weights section of gym in those days (sadly) and the step aerobics and leg-warmer stereotype was the mainstream.
    For men there was far, far less emphasis amongst people training in the gym on being lean and muscular. Big and strong was far more common aspiration and bodybuilding levels of bodyfat was very much an unusual niche, very rare for people to have a six pack then.

    But in terms of the general population then and now people simply eat more, snack more, do less home cooking and move far less.

    The divergence in physiques between what is aspirational and what is normal/average is far wider now than it was then.


    ETA - Health. Yes people were generally much closer to a healthy weight. Smoking was far more common and acceptable (even in the workplace) but despite medical advances in many things obesity is now reducing people's lifespan predictions for the current generation.

    Agree 💯

    80’s baby 🙋🏼‍♀️ It’s crazy how we got our fitness education from magazines and drug pushers from those programs on tv. Internet wasn’t a thing, and we couldn’t source check anything. Communities like this were not existent, and women were typically terrified they would get bulky if they even touched a weight. I started my first diet at 8 years old, and my mother gave me her diet pills. Scary times!
    edited February 9
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,425 Member Member Posts: 7,425 Member
    I sign on to what snowflake and Ann said, among others, but to elaborate:
    I've been thinking about this post and why is it that we continue to get fatter as a country (and other countries as well), despite not only knowing more than ever about health, weight loss and exercise, but in general having a lot more access to these resources as well.

    I don't think people ate "healthier" foods back in the 80's and before then more so than now, as what was considered healthy has changed over the years (and continues to change). People were just as weight/image conscious in the past (if not more so), so obsession with how we look and how big or small we are is nothing new. However, I think 1. Portion sizes have grown over the years; 2.Access to foods, especially convenience foods and take-out/fast food has increased dramatically; 3. Snacking, and especially mindless snacking seems to have grown (although I definitely remember having snacks regularly as a kid in the 80's and 4. Way more stationary activities take up our time, like TV (so many ways/things to watch now), computer and video games and 5. Driving to more places as the suburban sprawl continues to happen.

    Access to delivery has likely changed, and a lot more restaurants (with a much higher variety of food) do take-out, but I doubt "access" has changed for most people. Fast food was certainly completely accessible from what I recall of my childhood (I was 10 in 1980). Convenience foods were also incredibly accessible, as were snack and dessert type foods, although the variety of those was likely much less (although also there were fewer lower cal options) and across the board I would agree that portion sizes were smaller.

    When I was a kid we had fast food (which was seen as mostly for kids in my memory) rarely, as a special treat. The kids meals were not yet including the fruit instead of fries options, though. We didn't have soda at home (my mom had diet soda, but the kids weren't given soda as a regular drink--it was rare, like if we went out to eat or to McD's). Going to other types of restaurants was mostly something my parents did, although occasionally we'd go out to a kid appropriate place as a family. When my parents went out we'd get to have TV dinners, but this was also much rarer than I think people tend to go out today.

    Regular meals may well have included some convenience foods (I hated cold cereal, but it was a common breakfast), and my mom would use canned veg and stuff like that, and canned soup was something we'd have for lunch, but dinners were normally meat, veg, and a starch (corn and potatoes were a starch, not a veg), and was generally largely homecooked from scratch. We had snacks after school, but that was about it, and we didn't have a bunch of candy or dessert type foods around the house -- we'd sometimes have cookies if my mom made them, and my dad likely Jell-O puddings for after dinner dessert.

    I get the impression that on average (although obv not the case for all, most of the parents I know are likely more health knowledgeable and conscious than my parents, and also have lots more access to a wide variety of healthy foods, but that's a combination of changing food culture and that I didn't grow up in a big city and live in one now), people cook less these days and know less about cooking. My mom didn't really like cooking that much, but did so regularly, and my sister and I would sometimes cook with her and were encouraged to cook. (My mom also had a full time job from the time I was 8 and my sister 3.) So when I was an adult, that pattern of eating which was basically healthy (although could certainly be too many cals) seemed natural to me. From stats about veg eating in the US and simply some of the comments we get from newbies on MFP, I don't think that's as common now.

    TV was watched plenty from what I recall, and cable came in by the mid 80s, but yes, we didn't have computer stuff like now (even computer games were extremely rudimentary and likely much less common). We would play outdoors, but I suspect that too is widely varying now based on location and parents. Little kids are likely less likely to be told to just go out and play where I am now (city), but in the 'burbs or more rural areas I think they may be, and even where I am now I see my neighbors kids biking around and playing very actively in the yard -- it's been interesting to see what they have done during the shut down, and they also endlessly get balls in my yard, although not so much now when it's super cold. I also see lots of organized kids sporting activities and know from friends that many kids participate in them, and that starts with places for active play when kids are little. So again, I think it varies a lot, but not that kids are inherently more sedentary now. (I would sit and read endlessly as a kid and yet was not fat.)

    Regular life probably requires less activity now, but again that seems to vary by place. My parents both exercised by choice (my dad was into running and biking, my mom liked to walk and do any kind of dancing related exercise and aerobics), but on average I think that's likely even more popular (not aerobics, but exercising by choice) now in some ways. My parents also both drove to work and I took a bus that required only a short walk. Now I walk much farther than any of us did (or did pre coronavirus) to do errands and, especially, to commute, but I realize most parts of the US then and now are car-focused.

    The biggest differences I see are (1) portions, (2) more choice/better tasting convenience options, (3) more of a culture of just snacking all day or thinking that's necessary or simple mindless eating since food is always around, and (4) fewer people being comfortable cooking or having a routine of having meals that are overall nutritious (i.e., that not having a veg should be a rare thing, not that vegetables are optional). But of course that's all biased by my own personal experiences and observances.
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 760 Member Member Posts: 760 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    I sign on to what snowflake and Ann said, among others, but to elaborate:
    I've been thinking about this post and why is it that we continue to get fatter as a country (and other countries as well), despite not only knowing more than ever about health, weight loss and exercise, but in general having a lot more access to these resources as well.

    I don't think people ate "healthier" foods back in the 80's and before then more so than now, as what was considered healthy has changed over the years (and continues to change). People were just as weight/image conscious in the past (if not more so), so obsession with how we look and how big or small we are is nothing new. However, I think 1. Portion sizes have grown over the years; 2.Access to foods, especially convenience foods and take-out/fast food has increased dramatically; 3. Snacking, and especially mindless snacking seems to have grown (although I definitely remember having snacks regularly as a kid in the 80's and 4. Way more stationary activities take up our time, like TV (so many ways/things to watch now), computer and video games and 5. Driving to more places as the suburban sprawl continues to happen.

    Access to delivery has likely changed, and a lot more restaurants (with a much higher variety of food) do take-out, but I doubt "access" has changed for most people. Fast food was certainly completely accessible from what I recall of my childhood (I was 10 in 1980). Convenience foods were also incredibly accessible, as were snack and dessert type foods, although the variety of those was likely much less (although also there were fewer lower cal options) and across the board I would agree that portion sizes were smaller.

    When I was a kid we had fast food (which was seen as mostly for kids in my memory) rarely, as a special treat. The kids meals were not yet including the fruit instead of fries options, though. We didn't have soda at home (my mom had diet soda, but the kids weren't given soda as a regular drink--it was rare, like if we went out to eat or to McD's). Going to other types of restaurants was mostly something my parents did, although occasionally we'd go out to a kid appropriate place as a family. When my parents went out we'd get to have TV dinners, but this was also much rarer than I think people tend to go out today.

    Regular meals may well have included some convenience foods (I hated cold cereal, but it was a common breakfast), and my mom would use canned veg and stuff like that, and canned soup was something we'd have for lunch, but dinners were normally meat, veg, and a starch (corn and potatoes were a starch, not a veg), and was generally largely homecooked from scratch. We had snacks after school, but that was about it, and we didn't have a bunch of candy or dessert type foods around the house -- we'd sometimes have cookies if my mom made them, and my dad likely Jell-O puddings for after dinner dessert.

    I get the impression that on average (although obv not the case for all, most of the parents I know are likely more health knowledgeable and conscious than my parents, and also have lots more access to a wide variety of healthy foods, but that's a combination of changing food culture and that I didn't grow up in a big city and live in one now), people cook less these days and know less about cooking. My mom didn't really like cooking that much, but did so regularly, and my sister and I would sometimes cook with her and were encouraged to cook. (My mom also had a full time job from the time I was 8 and my sister 3.) So when I was an adult, that pattern of eating which was basically healthy (although could certainly be too many cals) seemed natural to me. From stats about veg eating in the US and simply some of the comments we get from newbies on MFP, I don't think that's as common now.

    TV was watched plenty from what I recall, and cable came in by the mid 80s, but yes, we didn't have computer stuff like now (even computer games were extremely rudimentary and likely much less common). We would play outdoors, but I suspect that too is widely varying now based on location and parents. Little kids are likely less likely to be told to just go out and play where I am now (city), but in the 'burbs or more rural areas I think they may be, and even where I am now I see my neighbors kids biking around and playing very actively in the yard -- it's been interesting to see what they have done during the shut down, and they also endlessly get balls in my yard, although not so much now when it's super cold. I also see lots of organized kids sporting activities and know from friends that many kids participate in them, and that starts with places for active play when kids are little. So again, I think it varies a lot, but not that kids are inherently more sedentary now. (I would sit and read endlessly as a kid and yet was not fat.)

    Regular life probably requires less activity now, but again that seems to vary by place. My parents both exercised by choice (my dad was into running and biking, my mom liked to walk and do any kind of dancing related exercise and aerobics), but on average I think that's likely even more popular (not aerobics, but exercising by choice) now in some ways. My parents also both drove to work and I took a bus that required only a short walk. Now I walk much farther than any of us did (or did pre coronavirus) to do errands and, especially, to commute, but I realize most parts of the US then and now are car-focused.

    The biggest differences I see are (1) portions, (2) more choice/better tasting convenience options, (3) more of a culture of just snacking all day or thinking that's necessary or simple mindless eating since food is always aaround, and (4) fewer people being comfortable cooking or having a routine of having meals that are overall nutritious (i.e., that not having a veg should be a rare thing, not that vegetables are optional). But of course that's all biased by my own personal experiences and observances.

    I think another thing that may or not contribute is that more women work outside of the home, and therefore families may be eating more takeout or quick meals out of convenience. I am fortunate that I work part-time and enjoy cooking, but I know not all families have that option or desire at the end of a long day. I'm not saying that families with 2 parents working full-time outside of the home can't have nutritious meals, but I do think it's harder to do that when both parents aren't working full-time. I also see at daycares where little kids are given BIG portions of snacks like Goldfish and Nutri-grain bars at like age 2 (and then wonder why they kids don't want to eat their main meals).

    I have 2 young kids, 9 and 11, and I know that even though organized sports are WAY more popular than when I was a kid in the 80's (as in there are more options and practices are more frequent), I think overall kids are more sedentary outside of those activities. Video games and social media are huge, especially as they get into the pre-teen and teenage years. Video games are just so much more graphically better than they used to be, so more enticing. Also, there are lot more options for not only what to watch on TV but WHERE to watch it.

    I grew up in family where meals were like yours--my mom cooked every night (she didn't work outside the home), and it was a treat to get fast food for a family of 6. Even though we lived in the suburb of a mid-large size city, there was only a McDonald's nearby. Now by my parent's old house there are probably at least 15 fast food/convenience food options! We did have snacks like Little Debbies and were allowed one candy bar per week and soda once a day. However, in middle school I remember that I could use the lunch money my parents gave me to get a milkshake or a Hostess cake for "lunch!" That seems so ridiculous to me now, but I think cafeteria meals have only gotten a bit more nutritious. I played outside a lot with my friends up until about age 13. However, I was a slightly overweight kid, even though my brothers and parents weren't (though my dad was larger, but I wouldn't every say he was "fat"). Because of that, I learned about weight loss, healthier eating and exercise at a younger age than others.

    I think the mindless snacking/eating and multi-tasking in general is kind of a big problem when it comes not only to eating and weight gain, but mental health and cognitive function in general.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,425 Member Member Posts: 7,425 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    I sign on to what snowflake and Ann said, among others, but to elaborate:
    I've been thinking about this post and why is it that we continue to get fatter as a country (and other countries as well), despite not only knowing more than ever about health, weight loss and exercise, but in general having a lot more access to these resources as well.

    I don't think people ate "healthier" foods back in the 80's and before then more so than now, as what was considered healthy has changed over the years (and continues to change). People were just as weight/image conscious in the past (if not more so), so obsession with how we look and how big or small we are is nothing new. However, I think 1. Portion sizes have grown over the years; 2.Access to foods, especially convenience foods and take-out/fast food has increased dramatically; 3. Snacking, and especially mindless snacking seems to have grown (although I definitely remember having snacks regularly as a kid in the 80's and 4. Way more stationary activities take up our time, like TV (so many ways/things to watch now), computer and video games and 5. Driving to more places as the suburban sprawl continues to happen.

    Access to delivery has likely changed, and a lot more restaurants (with a much higher variety of food) do take-out, but I doubt "access" has changed for most people. Fast food was certainly completely accessible from what I recall of my childhood (I was 10 in 1980). Convenience foods were also incredibly accessible, as were snack and dessert type foods, although the variety of those was likely much less (although also there were fewer lower cal options) and across the board I would agree that portion sizes were smaller.

    When I was a kid we had fast food (which was seen as mostly for kids in my memory) rarely, as a special treat. The kids meals were not yet including the fruit instead of fries options, though. We didn't have soda at home (my mom had diet soda, but the kids weren't given soda as a regular drink--it was rare, like if we went out to eat or to McD's). Going to other types of restaurants was mostly something my parents did, although occasionally we'd go out to a kid appropriate place as a family. When my parents went out we'd get to have TV dinners, but this was also much rarer than I think people tend to go out today.

    Regular meals may well have included some convenience foods (I hated cold cereal, but it was a common breakfast), and my mom would use canned veg and stuff like that, and canned soup was something we'd have for lunch, but dinners were normally meat, veg, and a starch (corn and potatoes were a starch, not a veg), and was generally largely homecooked from scratch. We had snacks after school, but that was about it, and we didn't have a bunch of candy or dessert type foods around the house -- we'd sometimes have cookies if my mom made them, and my dad likely Jell-O puddings for after dinner dessert.

    I get the impression that on average (although obv not the case for all, most of the parents I know are likely more health knowledgeable and conscious than my parents, and also have lots more access to a wide variety of healthy foods, but that's a combination of changing food culture and that I didn't grow up in a big city and live in one now), people cook less these days and know less about cooking. My mom didn't really like cooking that much, but did so regularly, and my sister and I would sometimes cook with her and were encouraged to cook. (My mom also had a full time job from the time I was 8 and my sister 3.) So when I was an adult, that pattern of eating which was basically healthy (although could certainly be too many cals) seemed natural to me. From stats about veg eating in the US and simply some of the comments we get from newbies on MFP, I don't think that's as common now.

    TV was watched plenty from what I recall, and cable came in by the mid 80s, but yes, we didn't have computer stuff like now (even computer games were extremely rudimentary and likely much less common). We would play outdoors, but I suspect that too is widely varying now based on location and parents. Little kids are likely less likely to be told to just go out and play where I am now (city), but in the 'burbs or more rural areas I think they may be, and even where I am now I see my neighbors kids biking around and playing very actively in the yard -- it's been interesting to see what they have done during the shut down, and they also endlessly get balls in my yard, although not so much now when it's super cold. I also see lots of organized kids sporting activities and know from friends that many kids participate in them, and that starts with places for active play when kids are little. So again, I think it varies a lot, but not that kids are inherently more sedentary now. (I would sit and read endlessly as a kid and yet was not fat.)

    Regular life probably requires less activity now, but again that seems to vary by place. My parents both exercised by choice (my dad was into running and biking, my mom liked to walk and do any kind of dancing related exercise and aerobics), but on average I think that's likely even more popular (not aerobics, but exercising by choice) now in some ways. My parents also both drove to work and I took a bus that required only a short walk. Now I walk much farther than any of us did (or did pre coronavirus) to do errands and, especially, to commute, but I realize most parts of the US then and now are car-focused.

    The biggest differences I see are (1) portions, (2) more choice/better tasting convenience options, (3) more of a culture of just snacking all day or thinking that's necessary or simple mindless eating since food is always aaround, and (4) fewer people being comfortable cooking or having a routine of having meals that are overall nutritious (i.e., that not having a veg should be a rare thing, not that vegetables are optional). But of course that's all biased by my own personal experiences and observances.

    I think another thing that may or not contribute is that more women work outside of the home, and therefore families may be eating more takeout or quick meals out of convenience.

    I'm not so sure, as as I said my mom worked full time from when I was 8 and my sister 3 (1978). Most of my neighbors (whose kids are active and not overweight) work full time and yet are more nutrition conscious and foodie than my mom was--and they are in a bigger city with a food culture and better off class-wise, and more educated. I think there's more to it than women working.

    I have 2 young kids, 9 and 11, and I know that even though organized sports are WAY more popular than when I was a kid in the 80's (as in there are more options and practices are more frequent), I think overall kids are more sedentary outside of those activities. Video games and social media are huge, especially as they get into the pre-teen and teenage years. Video games are just so much more graphically better than they used to be, so more enticing. Also, there are lot more options for not only what to watch on TV but WHERE to watch it.

    Yes, I think this is possible, although as noted I was way more into reading than running around outside as a kid and yet was not overweight.
    I grew up in family where meals were like yours--my mom cooked every night (she didn't work outside the home), and it was a treat to get fast food for a family of 6. Even though we lived in the suburb of a mid-large size city, there was only a McDonald's nearby. Now by my parent's old house there are probably at least 15 fast food/convenience food options!

    This is not consistent with what I see. We had McD's and BK in walking distance, and a Wendy's between my parents work and my home, as well as various other fast food (I liked Long John Silvers the best as a kid). In a big city now I have a McD's within walking distance and others in an easy drive but normally drive way less (and a lower percentage of the population here has a car). I don't think less access to fast food in the '80s is really a thing in most of the country, it seems pretty similar to me.
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