New CDC Report Reveals What the Average American Now Weighs

The average woman today weighs more than your average man in 1960.

We've all heard that obesity is on the rise in America, but, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, things might be even worse than we thought. In 2000, the average woman was 5'3" tall and weighed 163.8 pounds, and the average man was 5'7" tall and weighed 189.4 pounds. While our height hasn't significantly changed in the last decade (if anything we're slightly shrinking), the average woman in 2016 weighed 170.6 pounds and the average man weighed 197.9 pounds. That puts the BMI of the average American adult just shy of 30, which is technically considered obese.

The data, which was based on nine surveys of more than 47,000 people aged 20 or older, states that obesity among adults has been steadily on the rise since 1980.

"On average, both men and women gained more than 24 pounds between 1960 and 2002," the report reads. "During the same time, height increased approximately one inch."

This is not good news.

According to the CDC,  the average American male weighed about 166.3 pounds in 1960, while the average American female weighed 140 pounds. That means that, today, the average American female actually weighs more than a standard man in the '60s.

Of course, no one wants to go back to the days of fad diets and exercise belts, and it's great that the body positivity movement has become more inclusive of different shapes and sizes. However, it's also worth noting that obesity does come with a lot of health risks, such as an increase in the chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, kidney disease, certain types of cancer, and more.

"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," Michael Long, an assistant professor of prevention and community health at George Washington University who was not involved in the study, told "On average, we are all getting heavier."

Granted, some people dispute the belief that BMI is a good way of tracking one's health, since it doesn't take into account muscle mass. But given that the data says our waistlines have increased by an average of one inch since 1999, it seems like wishful thinking to blame the overall trend on an increase in muscle.

On the plus side, research indicates that what matters isn't how much you weigh so much as how that weight distributes itself on your body. And for more on this, find out what your waist-to-hip ratio says about your health.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more