I'm in my fifties. I was born and raised in a coal mining town in western Pennsylvania. I went to school in one of the poorer districts in the state. When I was a child we had eight periods of instruction a day. We got new, revised school books every two years. We had a full program of arts and music education. We had technical education, things like auto shop, carpentry, agriculture, business courses, and cooking. We had full sports programs, and three hours of gym a week. We also had a school lunch program that included either meat, chicken or fish, fresh vegetables, salad, and a pint of milk every day of the week. We also had a full time health nurse, who monitored the weights, diet, and general health of each student.
Ronald Reagan rose to power as the leader of the anti-tax movement. Yes, he had a broad political agenda, but it was opposition to taxes that made him, first, governor of California, and then President of the United States. With the erosion of our tax base under Reagan, one of the things that was defunded was public education. Long gone, in most states, are arts and music programs, new text books, full sports programs, classes that aren't part of core curricula, healthy school lunch programs, and public health nurses. Today's school lunch programs are now governed by the need to provide food as cheaply as possible. I can attest from my personal experience, (I only work part time and have shifted my own diet from quality, fresh foods to starch and fat heavy cheaper foods.) that cheap food is bad food. Too, school districts, desperate to make up lost funding, have turned to soda/junk food, vending machine deals that put extra dollars in school budgets, and high fructose corn syrup in the stomachs of their students.
Sure, I'll admit it; video gaming, MacDonald's and television haven't helped. But remember, next time you see an obese twelve year old with diabetes, hyper tension and heart disease walk down the street, it was the tax rebellion, and Ronald Reagan that helped put him on the path to early death.