During the Cold War there was a need for a strong, active, intelligent population. If war came, survival depended on those who were quick thinking, capable, focused.
The pressure on children in the 1950s was enormous. Education was priority. There was sharp streaming, insuring that those who had ability were pushed quickly, and those who did not, were culled into technical schools.
As intellectual achievement was prized kids grew up avid to learn, constantly being exposed to new ideas.
As a strong population was required, gym classes were every day. Kids were to be active, capable; know how to ride bikes, skate, climb, run.
There were few fat children. One had to be strong. Had to be able to stand up, face life.
At the end of the Cold War, these traits were unnecessary.
One didn’t want a bunch of strong questioning young people who wouldn’t believe the propaganda. Society wanted dull minded sheep, easily distracted, hooked on drugs, drink, sex, trivial pursuits, who took little interest in what was happening in the world.
Those Boomers, with their protests, demands for civil rights, who could expose the lies of the Vietnam war, needed to be shunted aside, replaced by those born in the 1970s who entered the ’80s and ’90s more interested in video games and getting high, than reality.