Why Being Skinny Used to Be Easier

Why Being Skinny Used to Be Easier

More than a third of adults in the United States are obese. This statistic is often attributed to a confluence of unhealthy dietary practices, sedentary lifestyles, and genetics. But we may be missing the bigger picture.

A 2015 study revealed that people today are 10 percent heavier than they were in the 1980s—even with the same diets and exercise regimens. A new episode of The Idea File investigates the plethora of complex factors that may be contributing to our increasing BMI, including a changing microbiome and toxic chemicals in the environment.

For more, read Olga Khazan’s article “Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s:” https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/why-it-was-easier-to-be-skinny-in-the-1980s/407974/

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  1. Kit Kniegge on June 22, 2021 at 7:51 pm


  2. UAIZcoach on June 22, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t remember anywone working out in the 80’s. Paradoxically people work out more now and they are fater.Our eating habits Change as food became cheaper i guess

  3. why you mad on June 22, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    So chemicals not calories… ok

  4. ZH8050 on June 22, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    "If you don’t want to be skinny, that’s also fine."

    That’s the why, right there.

  5. tawseef taher on June 22, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    hidden sugars are the culprit

  6. Nikki W on June 22, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    it also seems to be easier to be skinny in other parts of the world i’ve noticed. travelling to europe and eating their food, it seems like i’m eating more than usual but they’re food is just grown differently…

  7. Daniel Tamex on June 22, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    There’s a difference between being thick and being so obese/fat that u are literally killing your self

  8. Danielle Guzman on June 22, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    Pollution is killing the animals and making us fat 😿

  9. Jaylin Smith on June 22, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    The government wants us to be fat and lazy

  10. Aris Trefethen on June 22, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    The Atlantic is such garbage. I feel sorry for all the well-meaning people who believe The Atlantic.

  11. Patrik S. on June 22, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    No it’s just the hfcs

  12. Miles Rains on June 22, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    This hypothesis is absolute nonsense. People are fat because they eat too much and move too little. Yes, it is that simple. We will follow this trend until our culture stops medicating itself with food.

  13. piecesofme on June 22, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    Oooor, radical hypothesis here, we’re just eating more and moving less?

  14. Zap Rowsdower on June 22, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Was one of the chemicals *High Fructose Corn Syrup?*

  15. WayStedYou on June 22, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    In Murica*

  16. The Atlantic on June 22, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    Watch the previous episode of the Idea File: Has work become our new religion in an era of burnout?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAPQnCBnOLc&list=PLDamP-pfOskP2eAZ00DV2ge9h-ofiAmqM&

  17. A Bagel on June 22, 2021 at 8:16 pm

    The food then wasn’t poisoned 😐

  18. davidpar2 on June 22, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    Only the most wealthy people, mainly yuppies, had cell phones in the 1980s, and there were no iPhones. And only the geekiest of geeks were connected to the very primitive arapnet or csnet, and people were much more physically active as a result. And “fat shaming” was recognized as the motivation it is to lose weight

  19. Jason on June 22, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    People are also muscular and doing more strength training these days than the heavy cardio focus of the 80s. That coupled with certain additives in foods and poor sleep are also likely contributes to higher weights.

  20. T Bone on June 22, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    I was a kid in the 70’s. People didn’t have a 12 pack of sugary soda in their home. It was too expensive. A Coke was a special treat you talked your mom into buying you when you passed a Coke machine. They came in 6.5 ounce and 10 ounce bottles. Today they come in 20 oz bottles. You can buy a 12 pack of 12 oz cans at any grocery store for $3.

    There were no sugary snacks in our homes either. On rare occasions mom would bake a pie or make some candy. Potato chips were a rare treat as well. The most common snack was popcorn which you had to make on the stove top (no microwave).

    I remember our town getting it’s first fast food (McDonalds). It had no drive through.

    Video games and the internet did not exist. We only had 3 TV channels. I stayed outside playing football and baseball with neighborhood kids and always got mad when mom would make me come inside for lunch or dinner.

  21. Mr. Rupert the M4A3E2 Jumbo on June 22, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    people "accepting” more body types basicly says YOU CAN’T BE SKINNY THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE

  22. John Lake Jazz on June 22, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Please get a pop filter for the voice over!

  23. Sidewinder Sid on June 22, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    Eat less fast food and walk more. Results guaranteed.

  24. jellosaur on June 22, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    i think they were just walking and going out more lmao.

  25. Adam Edmiston on June 22, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    Become a vegetarian. Problem solved.

  26. Madeline Hutton on June 22, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    I am a nutritionist: Healthy fats are extremely important in the diet, as important as fiber. What are not important & doing much harm are hydrogenated, processed, volatile oils & processed carbohydrates. Eating whole, real, organic foods – including grass fed & pasture-raised animal products along with lots of vibrant, organic veggies and fruits, and more nutrient-dense grains is the foundation for good health. ♡

  27. CuteWolfCub 157 on June 22, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    I think we should try, the "Jfk Challenge". I believe this will help.

    Here it is:

    Hope you enjoy and be inspired, I certainly was. ✌

  28. Austin S on June 22, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    35 percent are obese…keep in mind over 65% of the population is still overweight

  29. KA LAdy on June 22, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    I’ve always wondered that

  30. Naomi K on June 22, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    Fast food "supersizing" started in the early 1990’s and that contributed to the obesity problem. People used to eat smaller meal servings. Also people eat a lot more snacks than they used to. Growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s, we only ate at our mealtimes hardly ever did we snack in between. When we did it was fruit or just 1 or 2 cookies at most not the whole package. Only on special occasions like at the movies, ballgames, picnics, parties, we ate stuff like chips, cookies, popcorn and pastries. Now many people constantly snack all day on sugary, salty and starchy foods even when they’re NOT hungry.

  31. KEW on June 22, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    It’s the generalizations for me

  32. Adora Tsang on June 22, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Our body temperature is lower, due to more hygiene environment.
    Maybe we burn less energy because we are clean.

  33. moss Foobar on June 22, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    So basically 80s coke had an impact

  34. Aienx ii on June 22, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    I wish I lived in this decade

  35. Skankhunt42 on June 22, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    This is all just the cost of civilization, thats what you don’t realize. Quality of life and our health actually began to decline for us when we adopted agriculture. More food to support more humans, but the tradeoff was poorer nutrition and health

  36. HeyItsMeeTee on June 22, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Sugar is literally 8x more addictive than cocaine but we allow it…. its in EVERYTHING! Why is my government killing us

  37. Libertas - Goddess of Liberty on June 22, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    We mostly just eat crapier food than we used to.

  38. Nininizzle Baby on June 22, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    More cocaine, less internet.

  39. Matthew Ryan on June 22, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Being skinner was easier due to people then not being as sedentary as people are now. Due to things like video games and home computing devices allowing to people to stay still longer, people gain weight from overeating. In the 80s and before, people had to move constantly, as technology such as arcade machines and computing devices weren’t available for everyone, to access these technologies, you had to travel to places that had them.

  40. Ceci RB on June 22, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    I mean,,obviously accepting people’s body types is good and important..but obesity and diabetes are a serious issue. It’s not about hate towards obesity or diabetes, it’s the fact that they’re legitimately not healthy and should be cause for real concern in our world…

  41. Barbara Gremaud on June 22, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    I don’t doubt that these factors are making an impact, but bad food and large portions are also a huge problem. People eat way too much and really bad food.

  42. spb 78 on June 22, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    4:10 – doesn’t this undercut the entire argument???

  43. koala bear on June 22, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Just remember guys it’s objectively wrong to be fat

  44. MoonbowHaze on June 22, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Because we got better technology and worse food.

  45. Joe Edwards on June 22, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Such garbage. Only eat 2 – 3 meals a day. Stop eating sugar and so many simple carbohydrates. Don’t snack between meals. Don’t overeat. Do some 16/8 intermittent fasting. It really is that simple.

  46. Tad Marshall on June 22, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    I wish the US banned all endocrine disrupters in food packaging (your first possible cause). The EU supports people, the US government supports industries.

  47. Miles on June 22, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    I’m going hardcore organic and growing my food when I grow up

  48. Mohammad Ayub on June 22, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    I remember in 1978 my mums fridge freezer was so small especially the freezer part was so small we never went to takeaways we Al eat at home we had manual labour we walked a lot Moor nowadays the kids get dropped off the thay go to tesco and thay get to park near the entrance wtf kids have so much energy let them walk what’s going on has the world gone so soft no wander kids are getting so fat it’s bad

  49. SmileBot on June 22, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    Impossible to be overweight and healthy. Sure we shouldn’t discriminate but let’s not confuse health with discrimination.

  50. shez 951 on June 22, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    4.16 this is where i draw the line, you should be nice to people, but being “accepting” can encourage fat to people to stay fat which is not a good thing