This photo of beach in the 70’s concerned internet users. Here’s why…

A trip to the beach in the 1970s was an exhibition of slender, athletic bodies. With an apparent ease of fitness, people of all ages relished the sun, surf, and sand. When we go to the present day, the scene is very different. The number of overweight and obese people has increased dramatically, which is in sharp contrast to the trim figures of the past. This change forces us to consider the food industry’s part in this significant upheaval.

The average diet in the 1970s was very different from what it is today. Home-cooked meals, frequently featuring fresh ingredients, dominated family dinners. While available, processed foods were not always the norm. People regarded dining out as a special occasion rather than a daily event, and there were fewer fast-food restaurants. Sugary snacks were less common in homes, and portion sizes were smaller.

In the 1970s, physical activity was also crucial to people’s lives. Both adults and kids spent more time outside exercising when there was no simple access to digital entertainment. Sports, cycling, and strolling were popular activities.

With the advent of processed meals and fast food restaurants in the latter half of the 20th century, the landscape started to shift. Profit-driven, the food industry began to prioritize convenience and shelf life over nutritious content. Many goods started to include high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and a variety of artificial additives as standard ingredients. These ingredients made food less healthy but more affordable and easily available.

Marketing tactics aimed at busy adults and children solidified these unhealthy eating patterns. Fast food chains promoted quick and affordable meals, while snack manufacturers created highly addictive products due to their high sugar and salt content. The convenience of pre-made meals and the intensive marketing campaign resulted in a marked increase in unhealthy food consumption.

These dietary modifications have had significant repercussions. Obesity rates have skyrocketed, resulting in a plethora of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and multiple types of cancer. The World Health Organization reports that, since 1975, the global obesity rate has almost tripled. Over the same period, the number of overweight children and adolescents has multiplied tenfold in several countries.

Beyond just what we consume, the food industry has a significant impact on how we view food. Portion sizes have skyrocketed, defying the notion of a typical serving. Furthermore, the emphasis on convenience has resulted in a decrease in culinary abilities, with many individuals primarily relying on fast food and pre-packaged meals.

This problem requires a complex solution. Campaigns for public awareness can inform people about the risks associated with processed foods and the advantages of eating a well-balanced diet. Laws empower governments to limit the promotion of unhealthy foods, particularly to minors, and promote the sale of healthier alternatives. Schools may play a critical role in serving wholesome meals and integrating nutrition education into their curricula.

Individuals can mitigate the harm caused by the food industry by deliberately choosing to cook meals with fresh foods, limiting portion sizes, and engaging in more physical activity. Adopting a lifestyle similar to that of the 1970s, when cooking at home and spending time outside were commonplace, can help create a healthier society.

The shift from the slender physiques of the 1970s to the current obesity pandemic highlights the significant influence of the food industry on society’s well-being. We can take action to restore our health and advance a time when seeing a healthy beach body is the rule rather than the exception by acknowledging the elements that have led to this shift.