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.

Confirmed Cases: 93087

Reported Deaths: 2809
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6956155
DeSoto539355
Harrison372772
Jackson337867
Madison320086
Rankin318875
Lee258567
Jones239978
Forrest238270
Washington217471
Lafayette207239
Lauderdale1994124
Bolivar179065
Oktibbeha174750
Lamar162134
Neshoba1534103
Panola144027
Sunflower141144
Lowndes139857
Warren138050
Leflore136280
Pontotoc122516
Pike120948
Monroe118365
Scott116125
Copiah115933
Coahoma112327
Holmes109158
Marshall107515
Lincoln106253
Grenada105335
Yazoo103629
Simpson101243
Union97824
Tate95137
Leake93937
Adams91736
Wayne87421
Pearl River86250
Marion84133
Prentiss80817
Covington80622
Alcorn76811
Newton75623
Itawamba75221
Tallahatchie74918
George74413
Winston72319
Tishomingo65737
Chickasaw65224
Tippah64216
Attala64125
Walthall59325
Clay57117
Hancock56121
Jasper54915
Noxubee54315
Clarke53539
Smith52114
Calhoun50612
Tunica47913
Montgomery45420
Claiborne45116
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41614
Perry40617
Humphreys37315
Quitman3735
Stone35011
Greene34317
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32511
Amite31210
Carroll31212
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2399
Benton2181
Franklin1893
Choctaw1785
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18911337
Mobile13039289
Montgomery8628173
Madison750775
Tuscaloosa7180114
Lee570559
Shelby564550
Baldwin504749
Marshall382143
Etowah333447
Calhoun332039
Morgan318126
Houston269922
Elmore251947
DeKalb234619
St. Clair221335
Walker220780
Talladega205026
Limestone197319
Cullman183017
Franklin174128
Dallas173626
Russell17112
Autauga167324
Lauderdale164133
Colbert159326
Escambia155725
Blount154214
Jackson149411
Chilton147127
Dale132743
Covington130227
Coffee12708
Pike11519
Tallapoosa113183
Chambers112342
Clarke104917
Marion93728
Butler90838
Barbour8307
Marengo69919
Winston69912
Lowndes64527
Pickens63114
Bibb62810
Hale61228
Randolph60712
Bullock58514
Lawrence58220
Monroe5758
Geneva5634
Cherokee55516
Washington54413
Perry5376
Clay5367
Wilcox53011
Conecuh52311
Crenshaw52231
Macon47620
Henry4674
Fayette4189
Sumter41819
Lamar3452
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3206
Greene30015
Coosa1613
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 74°
Columbus
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 76°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather