Now and then: the evolving portrait of aging through the decades

The reason teenagers in the past look older compared to those in present time.
This picture of the 1951 senior class demonstrates the difference of physical appearance between teenagers then and now.
This picture of the 1951 senior class demonstrates the difference of physical appearance between teenagers then and now.
Taylor Koch
The BCHS class photo of 1985 hangs high in the hallway for students to look at. (Taylor Koch )

Have you ever looked at photos of your grandparents when they were young, or even your parents? Do you notice how much older they look as teenagers compared to teens now? As you stroll through the school hallway looking at old senior pictures displayed on the walls, you may notice how students from the early 2000s and before that look more mature than us.

 

A lot of it has to do with the way people used to dress. Even 30 years ago, young people dressed more formally and looked more mature than teenagers today. While we wear sweatpants, sweatshirts, and overall, pretty loose clothing to school, high schoolers wear dresses, dress slacks, and formal clothing. It was seen as unfashionable to dress down and school was seen as a place appropriate for formal clothing.

 

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There have also been changes to rates of aging over time due to factors such as improved healthcare, standards of living, and lifestyle choices. A study has shown how the biological age is affecting newer generations. Biological age decrease has to do with blood pressure, lung function, and other health factors. Recent generations have become biologically “younger” because of healthier diets, better knowledge of skincare, and improved makeup. Young males have experienced greater improvements than young females when it comes to biological age. “This could explain why early adult mortality has decreased more for males than females, contributing to a narrowing of the gender mortality gap.” (IFLscience) Smoking is an example of one lifestyle choice that has affected generations over time. As men began to smoke less, women started catching up. Research shows that smokers compared to non-smokers have a much higher biological age than their real age.

 

Other explanations for improvements in population health are the betterment of medicine and reductions in infectious diseases. In recent years, health experts and makeup/face care influencers have reminded us about the importance of applying sunscreen every day. It’s able to protect our faces from aging, which is something that did not catch on until recently. As we look back at old pictures of our grandparents when they were young, we can now see the exact reason for that. Who knows, our grandchildren may think the same about us!

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About the Contributor
Taylor Koch, Editor
Hi, I’m Taylor! This year I am a senior, and in my fourth & final year of Journalism. I’m so excited to meet all of our new writers, as well as finish out my year strong in this class. I never thought of pursuing a career in Journalism, but was inspired to after these past few years. I’ve had numerous opportunities throughout this class as well. By learning to improve my writing skills and running our social media account, I was elected as our schools FFA Reporter. I’ve made several connections by writing in the paper, which I know will be beneficial in my career. An important goal I have for this year is to start up a photography department because I know we have many students who are interested in that field. I hope this year is great for everyone, and I can’t wait to read all of our articles!