Last week, the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC) released the report “Mean Body Weight, Heightand Body Mass Index, United States, 1960-2002,” based on data fromthe National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which provedadults are roughly an inch taller than they were in the 1960’s, onaverage, and nearly 25 pounds heavier.
Although the country’s weight gain has beenmonitored and well documented, this report is the first measureweight expansion based on the average person’s weight.
According to the National Center for HealthStatistics, a branch of CDC, from 1960 to 1962 the average manweighed 166.3 pounds which rose to 191 pounds from 1999 to 2002.The Average woman’s weight rose from 140.2 pounds to 164.3pounds.
Trends of weight gain in children have alsoincreased throughout the years. In 1999 through 2002 the average10-year-old weighed approximately 11 pounds more than they did 40years ago, according to the CDC-issued report.
“All the kids who are obese now will becomeobese adults,” said Dr. Samuel Klein, director of the Center forHuman Nutrition at the Washington University School of Medicine inSt. Louis. “What will happen with the next generation of adults isreally scary.”
An increase in weight measured by the bodymass index scale, the BMI factors in both height and weight, wasalso documented in the report. Average BMI for adults, ages 20 to74, has increased from approximately 25 to 28 in more than a40-year-span.
As weight has increased, so has height. In theearly 1960s the average man was 5 feet 8 inches, which hasincreased to 5 feet 9 ½ inches in 1999 through 2002. In thesame period of time the average woman’s height rose from 5 feet 3inches to 5 feet 4 inches. The average height of a woman,meanwhile, went from just over 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 4inches.
The report’s author, Cynthia Ogden, anepidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics andKlein both agree that height is influenced by genetics andchildhood nutrition. The Washington Post stated that earlier thisyear, researchers reported that obesity fueled by poor diet andlack of activity threatens to overtake tobacco use as the leadingpreventable cause of death.
Obesity can increase the likelihood ofdiabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other healthproblems. The report states that anyone with a BMI of 25 and up isconsidered overweight, and those with BMIs of 30 or more areconsidered obese.
Explanation of Obesity:
- Portions have gotten bigger, and people goout to eat more.
- Junk food that stays fresh for a long time ismore readily available. It’s much easier to find a bag of cookiesor potato chips in the cupboard than an orange, which may go bad ina few days.
- Adults and children watch more television andspend more hours in front of a computer than ever before, sittingaround rather than burning calories in some physical activity.
- At work, people are more likely to stare at acomputer screen than do something physical. And it’s easier to sendan e-mail than get up and walk over to see someone in person.
- Even if someone wants to walk to a store,it’s not always possible since many communities lack sidewalks andsometimes crossing a street means dodging six lanes oftraffic.
- Fear of crime in some neighborhoods keepsboth children and adults inside.
- Among men, the increase in weight was mostdramatic among older men: Those 60 to 74 were nearly 33 poundsheavier in 1999-2002 than men that age in the early 1960s.
- Among women, the difference was starkestamong the young. Women ages 20 to 29 were nearly 29 poundsheavier.
- For children, the average weight for a10-year-old boy went from 74.2 pounds in 1963 to nearly 85 poundsby 2002. The average girl’s weight went from 77.4 pounds to nearly88 pounds.
- It was the same for teens. An average15-year-old boy weighed 135.5 pounds in 1966, which rose to 150.3pounds by 2002. The average teen girl’s weight went from 124.2pounds to 134.4 pounds.