I grew up as a nineties child–a decade when television was becoming increasingly catered toward kids within my age group, when computers and pen-pals were just starting to become popular, and a time period when children were starting to become quite sedentary. My mom’s generation often played outside due to the limited amount of television programming, not as many video game systems or video games for that matter and of course the lack of computers. They were a pretty healthy active generation. The portion sizes (food) were smaller. Most people weren’t really that overweight. My mom even said at her high school it was rare to have fat teenagers. Those that were considered fat were Beyoncé’s size. Don’t get me wrong– teenagers weren’t bone rail. They just weren’t overweight or fat on average.
There wasn’t as many teenagers and adults on antidepressants. Not as many teenagers, or children needing to see psychologists or diagnoses of every mental illness that is possible. Doctors weren’t labeling every behavior as some sort of illness(nowadays people are labeling those who have short tempers as having aggression syndrome or something of the like, LOL). People just weren’t as preoccupied with weight. Celebrities that were bone thin weren’t worshipped. There weren’t as many health gimmicks. Liposuction, gastric bypass, tons of diet pills-while these occurred they weren’t extremely popular.
McDonald’s was a treat not something you ate a majority of the time because it was easier. Companies weren’t sued like they are now for making a person fat. Clothing sizes were even smaller than they are now. Giving a child a good swat on the behind didn’t result in CPS being contacted and a parent being labeled as a horrible parent.
Starting with Generation X–slowly but surely–as television became more popular, McDonald’s and fast food became more of a “need” (due to the shifting balance of women in the workforce and the need for fast food) and with the slight increase in portion size there was a slight difference in activity levels and overall health. Though Gen X wasn’t a completely unhealthy generation as a whole–it is with that group that changes started to occur.
By the late eighties and early nineties children’s lifestyles were becoming just as I described in the beginning of this post–sedentary. Though, again, not so much so that it was an immediate concern. But enough so that weight became more noticeable, watching television became more of a necessity among children, and the computer became extremely accessible.
Now in 2010 BOY how things have changed: a majority of Americans are overweight, kids would rather play on their computers, i-pods, or their variety of gaming systems then to go outside. People are addicted to computer games(world of warcraft) among other games. People lay around on their couches–kids included-with a remote control in their hands flipping through endless amount of dumbed down reality television. Diets, surgery and celebrities are so emphasized these days that even a small child will know what each thing means. Eating disorders and disorders in general have become so prevalent where people throw around in a normal convo: “When I was 12 I had an eating disorder” or “I have social anxiety disorder because I don’t like talking to people” etc. Everyone who is anyone is on antidepressants, seeing a therapist, or in need of intense therapy. Don’t get me started on how over-sexualized our children and the media has become. And you have children taking cough syrup and huffing paint to get high(what the heck?????!!). And then everyone is just plain greedy–no one ever really becoming happy no matter how much wealth is obtained, education, family, etc. There’s always the “want” for more and the need to keep up with the Jones. This mentality created the twenty-somethings that I wrote about a week ago. A group of entitled, irresponsible, spoiled, sheltered, depressed, unhealthy individuals. And while there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with taking medication–if needed– seeing a therapist, and so on the large amount of people in these positions pose as something inherently wrong with society today. People aren’t as healthy as they once were-emotionally, mentally, and physically.
It’s all sad really…. What the heck happened? How do we get back to where we started? If this trend continues the tweeners’ children will be the unhealthiest, inactive, greediest, entitled, fat, depressed, and over-sexualized generation there is to date.