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Are We Really Fatter Nowadays?

Tunn11

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A older colleague of mine once came into the office after interviewing some young people for Saturday jobs.
He looked slightly befuddled and said: “The trouble with young girls nowadays is that none of their clothes fit properly.”
 

Cochise

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I think there's a much bigger tendency to flash the flesh these days. When I was a nipper (back in the 60s), apart from the occasional bikini on the beach (and a lot of older women (ie, beyond their early 20's) wore one piece suits) most clothing was designed to cover up the body. I'm talking about day to day clothing, the sort of thing you'd wear out in the street, not nightclub wear. Apart from the miniskirt, most people wore slightly fitted but ample clothing. Nowadays girls come into the shop in little more than a crop top and shorts, regardless of their size. You can buy them in all sizes. In the past, 'larger' fashion was limited to more enveloping clothes.

So I think it may be a contributing factor, that anyone of any size can wear any clothes, so we are seeing more bodies on display.
I do recall from shopping with my mum that you didn't get many dresses in sizes bigger than 18. You've got to take notice of something when you are being dragged unwillingly round Marks and Sparks at 12 years old.
 

merricat

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I think awareness of larger women demanding fashionable clothes online opened up a new (or extended) market. Many online models now are plus sized, average, tall, short, etc. Can't say I've noticed this when looking at men's clothes. I wonder why?

Well, to be honest, I do know why - marketing discovered that treating women like special snowflakes brought profitable rewards. There's something for every female desire on the market now, and if we don't need or want it, they'll invent a new reason why we do need/want it, using 'feminism' as a means to extract cash. Arse implants? We have them! Most brands are keen to look progressive, so 'inclusivity' is a huge thing (long overdue, but it doesn't feel authentic)

On one particular fashion website (UK/EU) around 98% of the models are black women over 6 ft tall. Every last one of them is underweight and has closely shaved hair. I think they're trying to be edgy as it is often difficult to determine their gender, and even harder to imagine how the clothes would look on an average sized woman...but I do feel for those poor models having to shave their hair off. It can't be mere coincidence: are these brands afraid of natural/afro hair?
I'm glad we have inclusivity (of course), and I'm glad we can play with gender identity, but when you know it's only being done to manipulate your 'feels' and your choices, urrgh.
 
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Victory

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In the Western World, less of the population work in manual labour than in the 1960's.
Certainly in the UK, where manufacturing has declined.

More men doing manual labour had stocky builds, a little bit of fat.
Three square meals a day, and earlier bed times needed to cope with factory life.

So I think we now see polarisation.

There are more people with noticeably muscly and toned frames.
A direct result of:

The growth of gym membership in the last 25 years.
The growth of sports nutrition targeted at the general population.
Steroid use.

But there are more fat people too, for a few reasons:

A more desk bound work place.
Greater car ownership, so less walking to the bus stop or carrying your shopping home.
Plethora of food home delivery services.
Increase in fast food take aways.
Food desserts - sink estates where the food available is poor quality, processed, high in fat and salt and sugar.
 
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Paul_Exeter

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A older colleague of mine once came into the office after interviewing some young people for Saturday jobs.
He looked slightly befuddled and said: “The trouble with young girls nowadays is that none of their clothes fit properly.”
For my sins I watch 'The Apprentice' on the BBC (UK version) and have done for well over a decade. It has become really noticeable just how 'dolled up' the female contestants have become, this year and the last in particular. With all the make up, false eyebrows, hair extensions etc they almost all look like they have just stepped out of Instagram. Yet where I work (large education provider) we have many women in senior management positions who don't feel the need to look like this.
 

escargot

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The funeral industry certainly believes we are fatter. All aspects of its processes can be adapted to cater for the larger client, including the actual cremation chamber (or 'retort' as it is properly known).

Our local crematorium was closed for a week a few years ago to allow the installation of larger retorts for this purpose.

Have to say that I know several very obese people, in varying states of poor health, and I wondered what they thought of this.
Must've felt a little, well, personal.
 

merricat

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There's also the 'obesogenic environment' - Highly processed food is often much less expensive than fresh, healthy food. This is also a problem for those who are time poor, or don't have much interest or sufficient education to create nutritious, home cooked meals. It is very easy to underestimate the calories/sugar content in boxed meals, etc.

Some larger (better stocked) stores where I am at the moment require a vehicle to get to, surrounded by networks of busy dual carriageways, or are simply cut off to pedestrians, situated on out-of-town business parks with no train or bus routes close by.

One area a few towns out is entirely composed of new builds which stretch for miles. There isn't even a local store, let alone a butcher, baker, etc. The roads in these areas are severely congested due to everyone having to reply on their cars to do pretty much anything..I'm not sure we can blame the person driving for making poor choices in this instance.

There's a depressing dystopian terror foreshadowing the future of corporate entities 'designing' lifestyles and communities, as opposed to complementing our own.
I can easily imagine a future where towns are built around a giant Tesco, for example, with the company providing GP surgeries, entertainment, sport, banking, housing and so on. People who couldn't afford to move out of these areas would effectively become 'priced-in'. Tell me it ain't gonna be!:oops:
 

catseye

Old lady trouser-smell with yesterday's knickers
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I think awareness of larger women demanding fashionable clothes online opened up a new (or extended) market. Many online models now are plus sized, average, tall, short, etc. Can't say I've noticed this when looking at men's clothes. I wonder why?

Well, to be honest, I do know why - marketing discovered that treating women like special snowflakes brought profitable rewards. There's something for every female desire on the market now, and if we don't need or want it, they'll invent a new reason why we do need/want it, using 'feminism' as a means to extract cash. Arse implants? We have them! Most brands are keen to look progressive, so 'inclusivity' is a huge thing (long overdue, but it doesn't feel authentic)

On one particular fashion website (UK/EU) around 98% of the models are black women over 6 ft tall. Every last one of them is underweight and has closely shaved hair. I think they're trying to be edgy as it is often difficult to determine their gender, and even harder to imagine how the clothes would look on an average sized woman...but I do feel for those poor models having to shave their hair off. It can't be mere coincidence: are these brands afraid of natural/afro hair?
I'm glad we have inclusivity (of course), and I'm glad we can play with gender identity, but when you know it's only being done to manipulate your 'feels' and your choices, urrgh.
I have noticed this. I want to buy a pair of tailored black trousers and every single site seems to be showing them on models with long legs. I have chunky little legs, so any trousers that look fabulous on a model who's 6 ft tall are going to make me look as though I'm wearing my dad's clothes.
 

Paul_Exeter

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There's also the 'obesogenic environment' - Highly processed food is often much less expensive than fresh, healthy food. This is also a problem for those who are time poor, or don't have much interest or sufficient education to create nutritious, home cooked meals. It is very easy to underestimate the calories/sugar content in boxed meals, etc.

Some larger (better stocked) stores where I am at the moment require a vehicle to get to, surrounded by networks of busy dual carriageways, or are simply cut off to pedestrians, situated on out-of-town business parks with no train or bus routes close by.

One area a few towns out is entirely composed of new builds which stretch for miles. There isn't even a local store, let alone a butcher, baker, etc. The roads in these areas are severely congested due to everyone having to reply on their cars to do pretty much anything..I'm not sure we can blame the person driving for making poor choices in this instance.

There's a depressing dystopian terror foreshadowing the future of corporate entities 'designing' lifestyles and communities, as opposed to complementing our own.
I can easily imagine a future where towns are built around a giant Tesco, for example, with the company providing GP surgeries, entertainment, sport, banking, housing and so on. People who couldn't afford to move out of these areas would effectively become 'priced-in'. Tell me it ain't gonna be!:oops:
Absolutely.

At the last count my small town of 15,000 had seven places where you could by a kebab from those spinning minced lamb things, plus three Chinese take-aways and more. Meanwhile, the fruit and veg shop is in a desperate battle to stay afloat and closes before most people get home from work.
 

catseye

Old lady trouser-smell with yesterday's knickers
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Absolutely.

At the last count my small town of 15,000 had seven places where you could by a kebab from those spinning minced lamb things, plus three Chinese take-aways and more. Meanwhile, the fruit and veg shop is in a desperate battle to stay afloat and closes before most people get home from work.
Also, have you SEEN how over-processed a lot of food advertised as vegan is? I get the chance to read the ingredients on these when I'm stacking the shelves and, as I've moved to a lower-calorie diet, thought that vegan might = low fat.

Reader, it did not. The sheer amount of processing that goes into a vegan ready-meal means that those things are PACKED with fat and oils, not to mention all the other stuff.

So a lot of time-poor vegans, who think that eliminating meat and dairy is going to be good for their health, are in for a hell of a shock when they step on the scales.
 

Zeke Newbold

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Having lived in Russia for quite some time and now being based in Kazakhstan, I am in a position to be able to provide a cross-cultural comparison on this.

I can inform you that when it comes to women you just don't see anything like the degree and extent of obeisty among them as you do in the West. You just don't., and it's very noticeable to anyone who travels back and forth between these countries.That's not to say that there aren't any larger ladies over there - there are (and especially when they get older) but they are somewhat rarer and less evenly distributed among the population than is the case in the UK.

Russian men can also be quite big - but it's often a kind of stout, rather muscular, kind of bigness.

In both sexes the kind of chronic obesity whereby (as one poster unkindly - but accurately mentioned above) mobility becomes an issue is extreme;y uncommon in both Russia and Kazakhstan - in fact I am not even sure if I have ever seen it in either of those countries.

Kazakhs can be sort of `large boned` but, as many of them might be ethnically identified as Mongols, I think this might be a racial characteristic. They can look kind of stout - but it is a kind of healthy and robust sort of stoutntess, if you know what I mean.

In short: `Fat is A Britishist Issue` (see what I did there?)

As for the Why. Well I am not at all sure that the main culprit is diet. The Russian diet is strodgy and homely - comfort food full of fat and sugar. Ditto the Kazakh diet. Vegans and vegetarians exist in both countries but are viewed as cranks. Healthy eating as a serious concern is only slowly inching its way now into those cultures.

Cultural pressures do play a big part. Particulartly in Russia there is a very striong ethos of `Russian-Women-had Better -Be Beautiful` and the concept of beauty incorporates slimness into it - and this fact, coupled with the pressure to get married in your twenties, means that Russian women go to frantic lengths to look a certain way. It's the same in Kazalkhstan - but maybe to a lesser degree.

This fact was brought home to me when, one summer a year or two ago I witnessed a well known street parade that occurs annually in a town on the south coast in the UK A significant number of the participants of the parade were what I would call a tad overweight and huffed and puffed as they went around the streets twirling their batons. (In fairness, it was quite a physically demanding task). Now in Russia - and I expect a ghreat many other countries besides - people in that condition would just not be encouraged to partake in such a public display - or would at least be expected to lose some weight for the occasion.

However, I don't think that's the full explanation. I also really do think that climate plays quite a big part too. Russia is a famously cold country and for about five months of the year (depending on where you are, of course) you can expect the average temperature to be at least minus ten for long periods. That sort of frostiness is good for keeping you in shape.. Just walking down the street when when the temperatures are in serious minus figures will, have you burning up the calories as though you have been going for a jog round the park.
 

Tempest63

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It’s my understanding that obesity was once the preserve of the upper classes with plenty of cash to flash and unbounded gluttony. Whilst us poor working class people had to stretch the Sunday roast through to Tuesday dinner, then live on scraps and scrapings until pay day came around again, hence we were slimmer and likely fitter.
Now the upper classes have the time and money to spend on personal fitness, diets and all the good things in life, whilst the less fortunate families, with mum and dad both working to pay the mortgage and the HP on the new cars, TV and top of the range white goods, have less money for food and survive on fattening convenience foods.
Hence the wealthiest are the body beautiful brigade and the less well off have the fall out from pizza and chips
 

Mythopoeika

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However, I don't think that's the full explanation. I also really do think that climate plays quite a big part too. Russia is a famously cold country and for about five months of the year (depending on where you are, of course) you can expect the average temperature to be at least minus ten for long periods. That sort of frostiness is good for keeping you in shape.. Just walking down the street when when the temperatures are in serious minus figures will, have you burning up the calories as though you have been going for a jog round the park.
That's a good point. Extreme cold can seriously increase the heart rate and shivering does in fact burn calories.
 

Reverend D

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Thinking back to the late 70s and early 80s, I don't remember too many people who were more than slightly overweight.

The changes that I see in society are probably more processed food and less physically active jobs. But then there are many, many people these days who eat diets claimed to be healthy and spend hours each week in gyms.

Basically I'm trying to say I don't know.
 

Mythopoeika

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The changes that I see in society are probably more processed food and less physically active jobs. But then there are many, many people these days who eat diets claimed to be healthy and spend hours each week in gyms.
I used to go to a gym years ago. I remember that quite a lot of people stood around talking and posing rather than actually working out.
These days, it would be even worse, with people taking selfies every few minutes. They wouldn't get much exercise done.
 

charliebrown

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According to wikipedia, the average man during WW II was 5 feet and 8 inches, wore a 36 regular jacket, had a waist band of 32 inches, weighed 144 pounds, and wore a 9 D shoe.

I can’t remember when I weighed just 144 pounds, maybe in middle school ?
 

catseye

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Having lived in Russia for quite some time and now being based in Kazakhstan, I am in a position to be able to provide a cross-cultural comparison on this.

I can inform you that when it comes to women you just don't see anything like the degree and extent of obeisty among them as you do in the West. You just don't., and it's very noticeable to anyone who travels back and forth between these countries.That's not to say that there aren't any larger ladies over there - there are (and especially when they get older) but they are somewhat rarer and less evenly distributed among the population than is the case in the UK.

Russian men can also be quite big - but it's often a kind of stout, rather muscular, kind of bigness.

In both sexes the kind of chronic obesity whereby (as one poster unkindly - but accurately mentioned above) mobility becomes an issue is extreme;y uncommon in both Russia and Kazakhstan - in fact I am not even sure if I have ever seen it in either of those countries.

Kazakhs can be sort of `large boned` but, as many of them might be ethnically identified as Mongols, I think this might be a racial characteristic. They can look kind of stout - but it is a kind of healthy and robust sort of stoutntess, if you know what I mean.

In short: `Fat is A Britishist Issue` (see what I did there?)

As for the Why. Well I am not at all sure that the main culprit is diet. The Russian diet is strodgy and homely - comfort food full of fat and sugar. Ditto the Kazakh diet. Vegans and vegetarians exist in both countries but are viewed as cranks. Healthy eating as a serious concern is only slowly inching its way now into those cultures.

Cultural pressures do play a big part. Particulartly in Russia there is a very striong ethos of `Russian-Women-had Better -Be Beautiful` and the concept of beauty incorporates slimness into it - and this fact, coupled with the pressure to get married in your twenties, means that Russian women go to frantic lengths to look a certain way. It's the same in Kazalkhstan - but maybe to a lesser degree.

This fact was brought home to me when, one summer a year or two ago I witnessed a well known street parade that occurs annually in a town on the south coast in the UK A significant number of the participants of the parade were what I would call a tad overweight and huffed and puffed as they went around the streets twirling their batons. (In fairness, it was quite a physically demanding task). Now in Russia - and I expect a ghreat many other countries besides - people in that condition would just not be encouraged to partake in such a public display - or would at least be expected to lose some weight for the occasion.

However, I don't think that's the full explanation. I also really do think that climate plays quite a big part too. Russia is a famously cold country and for about five months of the year (depending on where you are, of course) you can expect the average temperature to be at least minus ten for long periods. That sort of frostiness is good for keeping you in shape.. Just walking down the street when when the temperatures are in serious minus figures will, have you burning up the calories as though you have been going for a jog round the park.
But, for comparison, what is the incidence of people whose mobility is affected by other issues? Are there people with one leg using mobility scooters, or those with chronic arthritis? Or is it more the case that those whose mobility is affected by their weight just don't go out?
 

Floyd1

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Also, have you SEEN how over-processed a lot of food advertised as vegan is? I get the chance to read the ingredients on these when I'm stacking the shelves and, as I've moved to a lower-calorie diet, thought that vegan might = low fat.

Reader, it did not. The sheer amount of processing that goes into a vegan ready-meal means that those things are PACKED with fat and oils, not to mention all the other stuff.

So a lot of time-poor vegans, who think that eliminating meat and dairy is going to be good for their health, are in for a hell of a shock when they step on the scales.
Most vegans (of which I am not one) who are proper vegans ie not the ''I'm vegan- apart from the roast beef I had last night'' brigade, know this though. MrsF buys vegan cheese which is actually higher in fat and saturated fat than mine.
 

Floyd1

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If you look at some of the films from the 1930s/50s, back then some people (men) had what I call a '1940s boxer' look. They weren't thin, but they weren't fat, or not like people are today anyway. Sort of 'stocky' but not particularly muscly either.
 

Victory

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If you look at some of the films from the 1930s/50s, back then some people (men) had what I call a '1940s boxer' look. They weren't thin, but they weren't fat, or not like people are today anyway. Sort of 'stocky' but not particularly muscly either.
Definitely for men there were physiques which were more common then than now.

Wide rounded shoulders, less pronounced chests, flat stomachs but not a six pack, wide but not excessive lats.

I wonder if this was not just diet, but because of different focus on exercises in schools, and in army service?

Less weights, less swimming, but more bodyweight exercises, more people playing football and boxing, a bit more running and a lot more walking and carrying heavy bags of shopping.
And more incidental exercise - walking to places, manual labour, lifting coal bags etc.


The classic New York photograph from 1932 "Lunch Atop A Skyscraper"


Lunch_atop_a_Skyscraper_-_Charles_Clyde_Ebbets_(cropped).jpg
 

Floyd1

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Definitely for men there were physiques which were more common then than now.

Wide rounded shoulders, less pronounced chests, flat stomachs but not a six pack, wide but not excessive lats.

I wonder if this was not just diet, but because of different focus on exercises in schools, and in army service?

Less weights, less swimming, but more bodyweight exercises, more people playing football and boxing, a bit more running and a lot more walking and carrying heavy bags of shopping.
And more incidental exercise - walking to places, manual labour, lifting coal bags etc.


The classic New York photograph from 1932 "Lunch Atop A Skyscraper"


View attachment 62760
That's so dangerous- The man on the left is having a cigarette- get Health & Safety in quickly!
 

catseye

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Definitely for men there were physiques which were more common then than now.

Wide rounded shoulders, less pronounced chests, flat stomachs but not a six pack, wide but not excessive lats.

I wonder if this was not just diet, but because of different focus on exercises in schools, and in army service?

Less weights, less swimming, but more bodyweight exercises, more people playing football and boxing, a bit more running and a lot more walking and carrying heavy bags of shopping.
And more incidental exercise - walking to places, manual labour, lifting coal bags etc.


The classic New York photograph from 1932 "Lunch Atop A Skyscraper"


View attachment 62760
Also the fact that physical jobs were much more common, and jobs that have now been mechanised to be less physical were, back then, just musclepower.

Nowadays you load a trailer with straw or hay with a forklift in the field. When I worked on farms we had to throw the bales up onto the trailer and then stack them.
 

catseye

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Looks as if the guy on the right has just finished off a half botle of spirits as well.
I think you may be astonished (and probably appalled) at the number of people who work drunk or on a considerable amount of alcohol even nowadays.
 

Tunn11

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I think you may be astonished (and probably appalled) at the number of people who work drunk or on a considerable amount of alcohol even nowadays.
I've worked with one or two. The astonishing thing was that they could function in a way that prevented any sort of disciplinary action given the quantity they'd put away. Not sure I'd trust them on a girder high above a street though.:crazy:
 

Floyd1

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I think you may be astonished (and probably appalled) at the number of people who work drunk or on a considerable amount of alcohol even nowadays.
You can't come to work drunk (unless you're an airline pilot of course) - in any case there wouldn't be much work done as I'd just fall asleep.
 
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