Are you heavier or shorter than the average American?

America is struggling with an obesity epidemic, a...

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 7:31 AM

America is struggling with an obesity epidemic, and a new government report says that the population is only getting heavier.

"Mean (or average) weight, waist circumference, and BMI in adults 20 years and older increased between 1999-2000 and 2015-2016," Cynthia Ogden, one of the report's authors and an epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, wrote in an email.

The report looked at the height, weight, body-mass index and waist circumference of American adults; it updated a 2004 report on these trends between 1960 and 2002.

In that previous study period, "mean (or average) weight increased by more than 24 pounds and mean height increased by [about] 1 inch," Ogden said.

The new report shows the trend continuing in weight but not in height.

The average weight of American men in 2015-16 was 197.9 pounds; for women, it was 170.6 pounds. This is up from 189.4 pounds and 163.8 pounds, respectively, in 1999-2000.

Black men, Mexican-American women and Asian men and women were the only groups in the report that did not show a significant increase in weight over that period.

BMI, a formula involving height and weight, also increased. In 2015-16, the average BMI was 29.1 for men and 29.6 for women. Both numbers have increased since 1999-2000 when they were 27.8 in men and 28.2 in women.

Americans' average BMI "is now almost 30 which is the cutoff for obesity," Ogden noted. According to the CDC, a normal or healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.

Average waist circumference also increased more than 1 inch in men and 2 inches in women, Ogden said: from 99.1 centimeters (39 inches) in men in 1999-2000 to 102.1 centimeters (40.2 inches) in 2015-16. For women, the measurement went from 92.2 centimeters (36.3 inches) to 98 centimeters (38.6 inches).

While weight is going up, height is going down. According to the new report, the overall average height for women decreased slightly from 162.1 centimeters (5 feet, 3.8 inches) in 1999-2000 to 161.7 centimeters (5 feet, 3.7 inches) in 2015-16.

For men, the average height in 1999-2000 was 175.6 centimeters (5 feet, 9.2 inches). It increased until 2003-04, when the average height was 176.4 centimeters (5 feet, 9.4 inches), and then decreased again until 2015-16, when it was 175.4 centimeters (5 feet, 9.1 inches).

The report uses data from 47,233 Americans over the age of 20, gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999 to 2016.

Ogden noted that for weight, waist circumference and BMI, the "biggest increases between 1999-2000 and 2015-2016 were in Mexican American adults."

Michael Long, an assistant professor of prevention and community health at George Washington University, wrote in an email that "By focusing on changes in average BMI, this study shows that the problem of excess weight gain is impacting everyone, not just the 4 out of 10 adults with obesity. On average, we are all getting heavier."

Long, who was not involved in the research, pointed out that this weight gain increases the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and that "providing excellent healthcare to people with obesity is critical."

Rising weight across the country carries risks to more than just individual health, according to Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski, an associate professor of medicine, pediatrics and public health sciences at the Penn State University College of Medicine.

"Medical costs to care for patients with obesity are estimated to be as high as $210 billion per year. In addition, obesity is associated with job absenteeism and lower productivity while at work, costing the system more than $6 billion each year," Kraschnewski, who was not involved with this research, wrote in an email.

Kraschnewski believes that there are a number of reasons for rising obesity, such as increasingly unhealthy diets, and thus there are a number of ways in which it should be addressed.

"The complexity of the many causes of obesity require that any solution be equally complex," she said, citing community and policy approaches such as soda taxes.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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