How America's Children Packed On the Pounds

It wasn't easy to produce a generation of overfed kids — but it might well have been inevitable

Photo-illustration by Anne Elliott Cutting for TIME

In the 1950s, kids had three cups of milk for every cup of soda. Today that ratio is reversed, meaning they get all the calories and none of the nutrients.

Americans disagree about a lot of things, but we rarely quarrel when it comes to our food. For a nation built on grand democratic virtues, there is still nothing that defines us quite like our love of chow time.

We have plenty of reasons to fetishize our food — not the least being that we've always had so much of it. Settlers fleeing the privations of the Old World landed in the new one and found themselves on a fat, juicy center cut of continent, big enough to baste its coasts in two different oceans. The...

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