In the early days of the 20th Century there was only one way of getting about for the average person – shanks’ pony (walking! Shanks are part of the leg below the knee). The better off might have been able to get a bike, and the lords & ladies of course had their horses (& horses and carriages as well).
So, in the early 1900s people thought nothing of walking everywhere (every day miles upon miles). Young men would walk five or more miles between villages in the evenings to court their young lady (after a day’s manual work to boot!). Women would walk the same distance daily to work in a shop or factory. Most ordinary men did hard physical work all day to earn a living for their family (and with no pensions they worked into old age and often till they died) – on the land, on the sea, down the mines, labouring in factories & buildings & works, in the docks, building roads, or whatever (not many cushy bank & office jobs in those days!).
Women also had a very physical life’s existence, even in the home (no vacuum cleaners or washing machines or inside toilets or central heating or any other labour saving devices). The result was that men and women were very fit individuals, but that didn’t save them from killer disease (few medicines then), and with all the unavoidable exercise that soon wore out their undernourished bodies – so people didn’t last as long as they do today in 2013 (mortality was high – particularly children). There was no fat people, as such, and certainly no obese ones (survival was the name of the game at that time!).
Even by the 1950s young kids still walked to and from a distant school or shops or cinema, or went to their local woods to play with their friends, or far away farmers’ orchards scrumping apples! Children played in the street (with safety – no cars you see), with improvised toys like pig bladder footballs and old bike tyres, and games like hopscotch – they were out of doors during most daylight hours (unlike modern Britain, in those times, there was no rickets disease here due to lack of sunlight! The Chief Medical Officer is recommending now that ALL British children, not just the poorest, are given vitamin pills to prevent it – how dreadful is that and what a total condemnation of our parents!)).
In those old days food was anything but plentiful. Meat was in short supply, particularly red meat. People didn’t waste food and certainly didn’t throw millions of tons away, like we do nowadays! The population eat plenty of vegetables (because there wasn’t much else!) and they ate real fresh bread (not the damp tasteless mass produced packaged stuff we get today) There wasn’t any supermarkets then with their vile buy one get one free (BOGOF) or similar deals – providing food not needed, not wanted, not used, so simply put in the bin!
Despite all the food that we throw away, we are still in Britain a nation of fatties – with many of our adults classified as obese. Worse still, we have so many of our children who are fed so much junk food that they too are obese – they get no real exercise, never walk anywhere of distance, are car’d to school & everywhere else, don’t play sport, spend their life in front of the TV & playing computer games.
We have a family joke – if you want to feel really ‘slim’ simply go to America and mix with them, but if you want to experience being the ‘fattest’ person in a country go to Indonesia whatever your weight. Why do fat women all drink diet coke, and why do men with paunches claim it is middle age spread and nothing to do with their beer drinking?
In these times the average British person doesn’t exercise much (and doesn’t do manual work). Only the filthy rich have their personal trainers, or have their private multi-gyms, or spend their days on the golf course – they at least can afford to keep their bodies fit and burn off the Champaign (the rest of us couldn’t run for a bus if we had to – luckily many have got a number of cars in the household!). Mostly women spend much their lives on another ‘special’ diet, but seem to ignore the reality that what they put in their mouths afterwards affects their ongoing weight – it is not in fact hormones, stopping smoking, or having babies! Fat men never in reality attempt to eat properly (or go on a diet, despite the nagging of the wife), and say they are happy with their weight, ignoring the fact that they are really unhealthy and perhaps importantly are no longer the same ‘hunk’ that their wife married them for!
[Is there any hope for our society? Any hope that we will abandon our couch potato lifestyle? Stop driving everywhere? Start walking all over the place? Keep ourselves healthy? Insist our kids get fit and that they physically exercise
In a word NO!]