I don't doubt that the relative number of overweight kids was lower in 1969, but 1) This is a fashion spread--I am absolutely sure they photographed the best looking kids. 2) They are high school girls! Ask the average 35 year old woman if she was skinnier now or in high school. You can hardly compare a fashion spread of high school girls to the average American population. Hey, everyone was white in 1969 apparently, too! (Oh and skinny does not equal "fit." How much exercise do you think high school girls got in 1969 before the dawn of serious women's sports? How many of them ever went for a run?)
Yes, obesity was much less common among the young then than now. However, I think the HS classes of the late 70's and 80's were much more attractive than 1969. I think "peak beauty", among the young, occurred in the U.S. during the 1980's.
Rather than everyone being fat compared to yesteryear, it is more accurate to say that there is much more of a bifurcation today compared to 30-40 years ago in terms of attractiveness. The people who spend time in the gym and take care of themselves look FAR, FAR better today, at all ages, than anyone did in 1969. However, this is a minority. The rest of the populace generally is less attractive than they would have been in 1969, especially the youth.
Most people were not over weight back then, go back and look at the movies, everybody is skinny and that is the way it was. Very few people had a weight problem. I still have a pair of my giant bell-bottoms saved in a drawer and my poncho is still usable. I do believe a couple of my crocheted vests are also around. Fast food and non home cooking have destroyed the American body. My hair was long and straight just like in the picture and yes I'm a grandmother now just like another commenter mentioned. Young women didn't treat their hair so brutally with all the dyes like now so hair was pretty not neon like so many today.
By 1968, Twiggy and other anorexic models were being imposed as the ideal of beauty and young girls and women started on the road to self doubt over not conforming to what essentially was the body shape of a male drag queen. During 1969, the left started attacking natural foods high in important nutrients as being unhealthy, like milk, potatoes, bananas, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and they promoted what we now know is not only fattening, but as having contributed to the rise in heart disease, margarine and so called 'vegetable' shortening. That is what contributed to the problems of obesity, as well as more fast, convenience foods being consumed because more mothers are out there working instead of having time to prepare healthy meals.
The left have also contributed to the high cost of food, by firstly demanding the highly processed food industry, the factory farms (birthed by the left's destruction of the family farmer, the subsidization of massive takeover combines by democrat contributors, and worked by illegal aliens. The left attacked home baked bread in the 30s and 40s as lacking nutrients, and promoted the factory baked, over processed, sliced bread we're all used to now, and these days, the left praise themselves for baking and selling overly expensive "artisan bread", "artisan cheese" and "organic beef & chicken" that they regulated and pressured family farms from producing during the last century.
I graduated in 1964, before the hippies made their fashion statements (and may we never go back there). This to me is post-college southern California. Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll--those were the days.
Other commenters are right: in my growing up years, almost no one was fat. And we all ate copious amounts of red meat, saturated fats (our mothers actually used lard--every kitchen had a big can of Crisco in it) and lots and lots of carbohydrates. What was different about that era? Balanced, well-prepared meals eaten with the family; few fast food outlets; far fewer options in junk food; very little in the way of prepared foods.
But the biggest difference between then and now: we didn't sit on our asses all day in front of a computer screen. When we were kids, we were always outside riding bikes, playing games, running, walking, skating, always active. And although the activities changed, we continued our active lifestyles as teenagers. And we worked mowing lawns, raking leaves, washing cars and running around after the little kids for whom we babysat. The couch potatoes among us were rare and generally overweight and, believe me, nobody back then wanted to be overweight.
We didn't have the degree of junk food then that we have today. I went to Michigan State (class of '71)and McDonalds had one restaurant on Grand River Ave. It was popular, but most kids ate in the dorm, and as I remember the food was pretty healthy compared to today.
Also we didn't have computers, anybody else remember sliderules? Today kids just veg in front of screens...as I'm doing now.
I graduated from high school in 1966. We had some fat kids, but probably fewer than today. These photos appear to be of models with perhaps normal folks in the background. Or maybe my school just had fewer attractive people.
I think it's kind of silly to draw conclusions about the general public based on some pix that appeared in a magazine. Life mag was just not going to show pictures of the fat and ugly boys and girls, not in 1969 and not today.
During the 80's (my teenage years), the 60's/70's looks seemed so ugly and dated. However, looking back on it now, there are a lot more classic, simple, and lovely fashion and beauty elements (long straight hair, miniskirts, eyeliner, flared pants, simple tee shirts, tights, maxidresses) from that time period than from the Decade of Excess. I'd wear those red velvet flared pants with a white tee before I'd wear anything neon, jellied, or acid-washed.
Odd. I can only remember one guy who was really fat back then (high school) and he was a terrific athlete, 2nd gen Greek, as I recall. A friend of mine was 10-15 pounds fat (And that was considered 'fatty' then.) but his mom was an excellent cook -- but his sisters were Twiggy skinny!? (for the younger set: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twiggy) This was Beltway-Washington, D.C.. Almost everyone was from someplace else (with about 5% native.)
I graduated in 1970. At 6 feet, I weighed around 150 lbs. Like most of us, I walked or rode my bike the two miles to and from school or most anywhere else I wanted to go, as I had done since elementary school.
You want a fat kid? Drive the little princes and princesses everywhere.
This isn't what you would call a random sample. If you conclude that everyone is in shape based on these photos, you must also conclude that only about 8% of students in 1969 were male. The photographer just may have had a bias in the subjects he or she chose to shoot--like pretty girls.
I graduated high school in Canada in 1970. These pictures bring back a lot of memories, for sure. They do seem to be taken in a relatively affluent area where people could afford fashions more than most of my calssmates, but certainly a lot of the period "looks" are there, including things like flared pants that many would prefer to forget. Some of these pictures are taken away from school; most schools then did not allow girls to wear pants or anyone to wear shorts. As regards the obesity situation ... my high school was a small town/rural district school with 1,500 students. There were a few pudgy people, but the number of actual fat kids was no more than eight or nine, tops. Yes, really. And they weren't all that fat by today's standards -- the heaviest student in school was about 280 pounds, and he was a big 6'3" guy. The next one was about 250. No girl weighed any more than about 200 pounds, so we literally didn't have a Mama Cass.
first what is the goal of the photographer? It looks to me like he got a plum assignment to go shoot pictures of college students. Maybe a what are the kids wearing today thing. I've done those in the past. So is he going to take pictures of fat ugly people. NO that's not what his editor is going to want. Since even today the number of guys wearing anything interesting is small compared to women, he is going to shoot typical (some of the pictures could have been shot today)co-ed and those dressed in a more fashionable/creative way. That said I work in company with a fair amount of young people working the call center and customer service lines. I do see more young women who are about 20-30lbs heavier then these pictures or that I can recall from my highschool/college years.
Wow I love those colored stockings in that last pic. Very nice. My sister could have been one of those girls. I remember her and her friends. Always nice and pretty and very educated. I miss those days. What happened? Why are girls so big these days? It's not at all appealing or sexy. European women still look like this and take care of themselves well.
"Can't believe all the girls then were so pretty and long haired and thin."
Graduated from HS in 63 --- we had 3 kids in my class of 154 who might be considered obese today, probably not more than a 10 - 12, if that, in the whole school of 900. 2 - 3 teachers that I can recall. As for college (63-67) -- I cannot remember a single "obese" person. And we had no intercollegiate or even intramural sports.
Interesting. And the clothes were relatively modest -- how about that.
I graduated in 1971 from a school with around 1200 students. I can only remember 4 or 5 that we thought were fat. We didn't eat many processed foods or McDonalds/Burger King burgers. Our mothers cooked fresh meats and vegetables they purchased at the grocery store. Most of my male classmates had part-time jobs after school. We didn't play video games, we played outside. Our play involved running, horseplay, jumping and other physically active endeavors.
Even in the 80s no one was fat. There was one fat kid in my graduating class. Just one. The funny this is that all the clothing sizes have changed. Now a size 0 or 2 is about what a size 6 or 7 was back then. Almost every female student in my nephews' high school class is at least 10 to 20 pounds over weight. There are maybe a handful of thin girls in his class. That's it! Almost all the girls are chubby and doughy.
These were taken and selected for the purpose of going into Life Magazine. They were selected, in other words, for the prettiness of the subjects. (This being before the days of the obesity panic, the editors weren't trying to find headless fat subjects in order to freak readers out.)
Or do you think everyone had beautiful hair back then too? Not a bad hair day in the bunch. Is that because "in 1969, no body had frizzy hair" too?
OK, I was a High School Freshman in 1969. This is EXACTLY as I remember it. The chicks actually WERE thin and even the UGLY ones were built damned nice. Fat chicks were few and far between and not as fat as the average cow is today. Life was FUN and we didn't eff around with Political Correctness or any of that stuff. WE HAD FUN. And the girls were effen beautiful. Actually feminine with curves. The girls liked the boys and vice verse and there was no misandry. The music was 100 times better than the rap crap today. The cars were incredibly cool. Really, American Society peaked in 1968, then the Communists like John Kerry and Jane Fonda ruined everything with their mindless Anti-Americanism. If kids today ever get a hint of what it was like for us, they're gonna be SO pissed off.
Why would they be fat? This is the generation (primarily the women) who STARTED the obesity epidemic. Shoving tons of Borlaug's untested hybrid wheat, fried starch products, and gallons of sugar drinks into their and their children's stomachs largely so that meals were efficient enough that they can still feel good about having jobs that they can pretend produce, rather than encumber, value. Then falling entirely for the "food pyramid" rather than their own training, history, experience and judgment when they find themselves getting a wee bit pudgy, then falling in line behind Susan Powter and the simplistic calorie math to shove still more unbuffered carbs into the mouths of those they were supposed to care for and nurture, many eventually having children in later years who were already well along on the insulin resistance process in utero(!), initiating a cascade that we will never escape from until this "fit and alert" generation is silenced.
Yet for now they still fill jobs as journalists, bureaucrats, health care regulators, and tax-funded researchers telling us how it's our fault, in our laziness and gluttony, that we're obese, arguably in an effort not to acknowledge their culpability.
Oh, heck. I remember those days. Great days for girls, not so good for boys (the war was going on, remember). Girls were pretty in those days. Thank you feminists, leftists, and our shitty popular culture for making our girls ugly. Remember the old adage - our men our brave and our women are beautiful? What in the world do the leftist think this is all going. Now, our boys are mostly cowards or bullies (except those few still fighting in the Middle East), and our women are gross! As one woman, all I can do stay trim, look nice, without tattoos or piercings. I try to associate with those lone brave men we still produce.
In the 1960s, Life Magazine did a "photo essay" of "youth culture" (maybe calling them 'teenagers' was a little too 1950s). There was one of those temporary big deals in the press when it was revealed it was just this year's fashions from the nation's bigger brands at the time. There are no fat people in that picture. No one has acne. No one really seems to have glasses. It's just well disguised advertising from another era. If there was any accompanying text it was probably nothing but filler and disguised ads. "The youth of today really think it's hip and groovy to listen to all the latest hit singles like The Archie's 'Sugar Sugar' on their RCA transistor radios." All of the ads that popped up at the top of this page for me have words like "belly fat" and "diabetes." Congratulations, someone in an office somewhere has decided that they aren't rich enough and that people- including you- aren't hating themselves enough to be easily suckered into buying their diet plans, clothes, makeup and acne cream. So put a few photos as some sort of masturbatory false nostalgia for the baby boomers out there in the crowd and let's hope that someone clicks on any of the ads at the top of the page so they can feel horrible about themselves. Advertisers have always been trying to get under your skin one way or another. The best time to advertise to people is when they think they aren't being advertised to. If you want to get into the nuts and bolts of this there is such a thing as media psychology. Look it up. If these scans from an older magazine made you feel ugly or inadequate in any way, congratulations, the advertisers of the world have got you by the short ones.
High school? Don't think so. These are all Southern California college scenes. High school dress codes in the sixties didn't allow any of this. And nobody at my high school looked anywhere near this good...
Sixties' high school? No Way! In the sixties', we ran from class to class. We weren't allowed outside the school. Never mind sitting on the grass. Never mind having time to sit on the grass. It was risky for a girl to wear fishnet stockings. Never mind any of this stuff. Mini skirts? Multiple long necklaces? Or that Indian look with the arm and leg things? Fugeddiboutit!
Graduated in 1970. The winter of my Senior year it was bitterly cold in early January. Several girls came to school in slacks. They were sent home by the principal for "inappropriate dress". The next day it was equally cold so several girls worn what were then called 'granny' dresses, floor length - you got it! they were sent home!
Whenever i go to places like US and Australia I find I'm surrounded by fat people who roll smugly from place to place in great steel boxes. They imagine they are somehow empowered.
In fact they are all VICTIMS of a very efficient and highly sophisticated sales process produced by multinational corporations at huge investment.
I know what I'm talking about. I have worked on many campaigns that aim to persuade people to act against their interests in the pursuit of some bullshit ideal. The fat epidemic is proof these campaigns work.
It's interesting to me to see how many people in this thread are trying to convince themselves that somehow this magazine article doesn't reflect a previous reality. You people are fucking brainwashed. I feel sorry for you.
You can change your life. Start by googling "How To Be Happy". Study what you find. Implement it.
Saw a lot of comments about no fat people. There weren't hardly any. We had a thing called PE in school and we went to PE 5 days a week. Schools today have little or no PE which I think has had an enormous impact on obesity today.
Not only were there no fat people back then, there were no males either, evidently. C'mon people. This is about fashion and the photographer wasn't out to take pictures of ugly or fat people, his or her assignment was to make beautiful pictures of beautiful girls illustrating the fashions of the day and that is exactly what the photographer did. It's not that I don't agree that people back then in general weren't as overweight as the average of people today, but comments based on these pictures about this subject do not take into account that we are seeing what Life magazine wanted us to see.
For those of you wondering "SoCal?" and "Why so many white kids?", I've seen this layout before. Was a long time ago, but am 75-80% sure it was shot at Beverly Hills HS in '68 or '69.
As for the 'why no fatties' issue, I graduated in 1977 from a HS that had 5000 (!) students. I'd classify maybe 50 in the 'husky/chunky' class, and another 30, tops, as obese.
HS kids got more exercise then, true, but they ate the exact same fast food crap they do now; and were just as lazy then as now. If you ever pick up a copy of 'Wheat Belly Diet', and compare HS pics from 1969 and 2009, you'll be sold: the difference is *obviously* GMO grains, and HFC sweeteners in colas. They weren't around back then, and the kids weren't fat. Today.....things have changed. Cause and Effect, baby. C&E.
Talk about brain washed, i see much talk about HFCS, that is part of the brainwashing, yet not one mention of the very addictive and deadly Nutrasweet and other synthesized sweeteners, so called natural and placed in many more foods than anyone cold shake a stick at. If you drank soda back than it was an 8oz. bottle or 12oz. can bottle, and it had REAL SUGAR. Also, as mentioned in an earlier post, smaller BALANCED meals,(no food pyramids) BALANCED families and every day exercise in some form. In other words we thought for and made choices for ourselves, these choices usually also in many ways would benefit additional family, friends and neighborhood. That was until public school and media brainwashing
For the idiots claiming no one was fat. These are pictures of white high school kids. Go look at a yearbook of any recent white high school and everyone will look just as fit. Most people don't gain a lot of weight until after high school.