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TV makes us fat!

Television had (and continues to have) a dual impact on snacking. It simultaneously provided an occasion for between-meal munching while also serving as a venue for snack food promotion. Television’s partnership with snacking arose as Americans shifted their leisure time from the public sphere to the suburban home. In the first half of the twentieth century, people increasingly spent their leisure time at home, rather than at theaters, circuses, sporting parks, and fairs, as in the past. Young Americans found themselves more than ready to start families and settle down following the lean and tumultuous years of the Depression and the world wars. Beginning in 1945, marriage rates reached record highs, and, shortly afterward, a baby boom thundered its way across the nation. Thanks to postwar affluence, luxuries that most Americans could not afford before finally came within reach: a house in the suburbs, a station wagon in the garage, a washing machine in the pantry, a dishwasher in the kitchen, and a lawnmower in the shed. They sought no appliance more, however, than the television. It was perhaps the ultimate form of domestic entertainment: it brought the world into the home, occasioned family togetherness, and delivered hours of relaxing entertainment—all at the fl ip of a switch. Not surprisingly, the rise of television prompted a rise in home snacking.

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