Fact: It Was Easier to Be Skinny 30 Years Ago Than It Is Today

Victoria Hoff

The next time your parents (or grandparents) gripe about how easy millennials have it, throw this generational injustice back in their faces: Scientists apparently just learned that it was actually easier to maintain a healthy body weight and size in the 1980s than it is now. What?!

A recent study in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice shows that the BMI of an adult today is, on average, 2.3 points higher than someone with the same calorie consumption and a comparable fitness regimen 30 years ago. Researchers learned this by studying the dietary data of roughly 37,000 adults from 1971 to 2008. “Our study results suggest that if you are 25, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight,” lead researcher Jennifer Kuk told The Atlantic.

But why? Well, that’s kind of the worst part of all of this. The researchers actually aren’t sure, though they do have some guesses: For one thing, we’re exposed to a lot more chemicals than we were just a few decades ago, and prescription drug use has also risen heavily. Their last hypothesis has to do with how much good bacteria we house in our gut—something that, uncoincidentally, seems to be the next big thing in weight loss. (Kuk and her team think that the rise of hormones, preservatives, and artificial ingredients in food probably plays a role in this.)

Sure, these are just educated guessesbut it’s never a bad idea to keep your consumption of all things artificial to a minimum, regardless. And might we suggest taking a probiotic? Shiff’s Gummies ($15) are a good alternative to yogurt, if that’s not your thing.

Silver lining: At least when Dad pulls a “When I was your age…”, this news makes for a good comeback.

What do you think about this news? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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