I'm a member of the TV Dinner generation. It dawned on me that being raised in the 70s alone might just be bad for your health. Without any research whatsoever, I posit that we were the first generation to really get hit hard with the processed food, corn syrup, "way too many chemicals in everything" thing. To the point that all that processed shit we ate actually stored itself in our genes and made it's way into our kids genes...thus, the childhood obesity and proclivity toward diabetes in this generation. The process to fix it will take a generation of conscientious parenting and diligent devotion to better health, fitness and eating actual food (you know, protein, vegetables, etc.) which doesn't come in a wrapper of some kind. It kind of sucks, but we have to get back to it.
Just for fun, here's a list of things that were prominent when I was growing up which are frightening and (except for the fact that they're fucking delicious when you chew them but not so good for you when you swallow them) seemed (again, no research) to only exist for the first time during my childhood.
Sugar processed cereals (some personal faves) - Golden Grahams, Cap'n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, Trix - remember all the marketing? I bet anyone born in the 70s/80s can remember at least a few of these slogans. You saw it on TV, you asked for it, then when you got to the grocery store - there they were...right at your eye level to annoy your parents to no end until they threw the shit in the cart. As a parent, I understand the struggle. You just want your kid to shut up and not have a fit in the store...those clever marketing bastards!!! More times than not, the cereal even came with a toy - buried in the cereal, wrapped in plastic. How could we resist???!!!
TV Dinners: Frozen. Stamped out meat with fake grill marks (I'm looking at you Salisbury Steak), with a dessert (blueberry pie that would always burn your mouth), handy tray keeping the food separated. The mashed potatoes had gravy and were really, really gross. Sometimes, you'd get a hungry man fried chicken - if you were really lucky. As my good friend Dan Fredricksen points out in his act - "It's a whole pound of food"...
Plastics: Everything came in plastic all of a sudden one day. Fuck aluminum. Drink from it, eat from it, wrap shit in it, play on it, put it on your feet and wrists (Remember Jelly everything in the 80s?). George Carlin pointed out that plastic is probably our only real contribution to the earth. (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/251836-we-re-so-self-important-everybody-s-going-to-save-something-now-save)
Juice Drinks (Kool-Aid and such): Remember when the giant glass pitcher of red juice came flying through wall? How's that even possible, by the way...he would have shattered and spilled red juice everywhere. But Ecto-cooler, Gatorade, Hawaiin Punch, Kool-Aid, Juicy Juice - all that garbage came out when I was a kid and there was absolutely no actual juice in it at all.
Mac & Cheese: Another in a long line of powdered food substitutes that were pawned off as actual meals. While delicious, absolutely no food in that food. The color was also unnatural. Still very popular, cheap, and still delicious. Necessary? Nah.
Powdered Cake: Well, cake is awesome, so nevermind. What kind of cretin hates cake?
Fast Food: A few generations before mine got started on this one with the roller-skating waitresses, burgers, fries and shakes. But it seems like the 80's really got it down to a science. Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's, Taco Bell. Even if your metabolism can handle them as a kid and you didn't get super fat - I just wonder what it did at a molecular level to your body? Can't be good, right? The key was figuring out that you had to stop eating there on the regular at a certain point.
Marketing for cigarettes with rewards (80's & 90s): My college roommate and I used to collect Camel Dollars. I think furnished our first apartment with Camel gear - chairs, shower curtains, lighting fixtures. I mean, it was serious business. There were catalogs, custom engraved zippo lighters. The good old days. Way to go Joe Camel!
Seems like a lot of technology moves us forward as a species but for that generation - while it may have created jobs and technically "fed" more people cheaply, the price on the back end with health issues as a result of that diet might not have been worth the cost, huh?