Americans continue to bulge

New US government data charts some interesting changes in average bodies over recent decades.

Meet the average American man. He weighs 198 pounds (90kg) and stands 5 feet 9 inches (180cm) tall. He has a 40″ (102cm) waist, and his body mass index is 29, at the high end of the “overweight” category.

The picture for the average woman? She is roughly 5 feet 4 inches tall (165cm), and weighs 171lb (77.5kg), with a 39″ (99cm) waist. Her BMI is close to 30. A BMI of 30 and higher is considered obese.

That’s a not at all how Americans used to look. New data show that both men and women gained a whopping 24lb (11kg) on average from 1960 to 2002; through 2016, men gained an additional 8lb (3.6kg), and women another 7lb (3.2kg).

The new report, published by the National Center for Health Statistics, contains some remarkable insights into changes in the American body in recent decades.

In 1999, white men averaged 192lb (87kg) , and black men, 189lb (85.7kg). By 2016, the average white man weighed 202lb (91.6kg), and the average black man, 198lb (90kg). (These are rounded numbers.)

Average waist size among white men increased to 40″ in 2016 from 39″ in 1999, and among black men to 39″ from 38″.

An average woman in 1999 weighed 164lb (74kg) and had a 36″ waist. Black women averaged 186lb (84.3kg) in 2016, almost unchanged since 1999.

But the average white woman weighed 162lb in 1999 and 171lb in 2016. Average waist size among black women in 2016 rose to 40″ from 39″ in 2016, and among white women to 38″ from 36″.

Among all men, age-adjusted mean height increased to 69.4″ (about 5 feet 9 inches) in 2005 from 69.2″ in 1999, and then decreased to 69.1″ by 2016. The decrease may result from an increasing population of Mexican-American men, whose average height in 2016 was 66.5 “.

Black men’s average height decreased to 69.1″ in 2016 from 69.3 in 2005. Women’s average height did not change significantly over the period.

“People tend to over-report their height and under-report their weight,” said the senior author, Cynthia Ogden, an epidemiologist at the CDC. The new figures, she noted, are the result of actual measurements.

Source: New York Times