According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American men currently weigh 15 more pounds than in the 80’s. On the other hand, women have gained 16 more pounds, while gender height has not increased since those years. As a result, the average Body Mass Index (BMI) is now higher.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics published the new findings on Wednesday. The institution has compared the height and weight of the American population between 2011-2014 and 1988-1994. Researchers analyzed data from 19,151 people who were medically examined and interviewed at home. The average weight for men in the United States between 1988 and 1994 was 181 pounds, said the study.

Image credit: NBC News.
A study published in June in the journal JAMA showed that between 2013 and 2014 obesity prevailed among 35 percent of American men and 40 percent of women. Image credit: NBC News.

Between 2011 and 2014, the average weight for men was 196 pounds, while their average height remained the same during the 30-year period: 5 feet and 9 inches. Women are following a similar path. The average weight for females was 152 pounds in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Their average weight rose to 169 pounds by 2011-2014, while their height remained the same: 5 feet, 4 inches.

Children are also part of the obesity trend. The study found that boys, who have grown an inch in height, are 13.5 pounds heavier than in the 80s. Girls haven’t experienced a change in height. However, they are now 7 pounds heavier than they were in the 80’s.

The study also compared weights based on race and found that African-Americans were the ones that gained most weight in average. They are 18 pounds heavier, but they have also grown one-fifth of an inch on average.

Black women have gained 22 pounds since the 80s, although their height has not changed. This average weight increase may impact rates of diabetes and heart disease in the nation.

Anthony Comuzzie, an obesity researcher and scientist at the department of genetics at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, believes that Americans are gaining weight at a fast rate. This may affect the overall health of the nation, said CBS News.

According to Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University Prevention Research Center and president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, American culture insists on obtaining big profits from fast food businesses, even when they pose a threat to people’s health.

Katz stated that American companies benefit from “big food, to big media, to big pharma.” He said that the American culture does more for fostering obesity than to defend people against it. “We are not doing nearly enough to control and reverse the obesity epidemic and doing far too much to propagate it,” he added.

Americans are getting heavier, but not taller 

The Body mass index measures height and weight of individuals to calculate their body fat. Dr. Comuzzie said that 15-16 pounds represent a significant weight gain, which will undoubtedly influence in calculation of the BMI.

The BMI has three main categories: normal, overweight, and obese. Comuzzie said that people in the normal category have probably moved to the overweight category, while those who were in the overweight category have probably entered the obese category.

Dr. Comuzzie said that the reasons behind weight gain in Americans are complex. Physicial inactivity and unhealthy food may be playing a relevant role in increasing obesity rates. Image credit: The Huffington Post.
Dr. Comuzzie said that the reasons behind weight gain in Americans are complex. Physicial inactivity and unhealthy food may be playing a relevant role in increasing obesity rates. Image credit: The Huffington Post.

The body mass index is an important indicator because it can tell how vulnerable a population is to certain diseases. In the case of the American population, it can tell how many people would be suffering from type two diabetes and heart disease in the coming years.

Over the last 25 years, there has been an increase of obesity among children and teenagers who have between 12-19 years old. Obesity rates have grown as well in kids between the age of two and five.

A theory has suggested that Americans’ metabolism is slowing down because people are getting older. This trend could cause weight gain. Both Dr. Comuzzie and Dr. Kantz said that this explanation is nonsense because the statistics used in the study took into account different age groups in both periods of time.

Source: CBS News