Average American 15 Pounds Heavier Than 20 Years Ago:  Growing wider but not taller, research shows.  The new statistics were released Aug. 3 in a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. The statistics for 2011-2014 are based on an analysis of a sample of 19,151 people.

According to the report, the average weight in the United States rose from 181 pounds to 196 pounds between 1988-1994 and 2011-2014 for men, and from 152 pounds to 169 pounds for women, with no change in average height for either group. When looked at by race, blacks gained the most on average. In 11-year-old children, girls are more than seven pounds heavier with no change in height; boys gained an inch in height, but 13.5 pounds in weight compared to two decades ago.

A 15- to 16-pound weight gain is fairly significant and typically would be consistent with a couple of points increase in body mass index.  Increasing BMI is a good indicator of overall risk for a variety of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. As our BMIs go up so does the risk for more heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Such an increase does not bode well for the overall health of the nation.

David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Yale University Prevention Research Center, and president, American College of Lifestyle Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Anthony Comuzzie, Ph.D., scientist, department of genetics, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio; Aug. 3, 2016, Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2011-2014 National Center for Health Statistics report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention