Americans Got Heavier, Wider, but Not Taller, Over Past 20 Years

The average American is more than 15 pounds heavier today
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2016 6:19 PM CDT

(Newser) – The average American is more than 15 pounds heavier than two decades ago, HealthDay reports. And with the exception of young boys, they aren't really any taller. The new statistics come from the CDC, which found the average American man now weighs 195.7 pounds—15 pounds more than in the late '80s and early '90s—and the average American woman now weighs 168.5 pounds—up 16 pounds over the past 20 years, according to Time. Live Science reports the CDC also found that waistlines were increasing over that time span. And NJ.com points out that the increase puts the BMI of the average man (28.9) and average woman (28.8) near the official obesity level of 30.

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The CDC found the average American man is 5-feet-9-inches tall, and the average American woman is 5-feet-4-inches tall. Those heights are unchanged over the past two decades. However, average 11-year-old boys are now an inch taller (and 13.5 pounds heavier). The largest weight gains between now and then were seen in men between the ages of 60 and 69 and women between 20 and 29. The CDC's report didn't give reasons for the increase in weight, but an expert who describes it as a "fairly rapid rate" of weight gain, tells HealthDay that less exercise and more calorie-heavy foods are to blame. (Italian researchers don't think pasta is making us fat, at least.)

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