Report Finds Increases in Height, Weight Among U.S. Residents
U.S. residents are about one inch taller and 25 pounds heavier on average in 2002 than they were in 1960, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Center for Health and Statistics, the Washington Post reports (Stein, Washington Post, 10/28). The 1999-2002 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, led by epidemiologist Cynthia Ogden, studied nearly 9,000 adults and 8,000 children ages two to 19. It is the first government study to examine residents' heights and weights over a 40-year period (Hellmich, USA Today, 10/28). The report found that:
- The average weight for men increased to 191 pounds in 2002 from 166.3 pounds in 1960;
- In women, the average weight increased to 164.3 pounds from 140.2 pounds during the same time period;
- The average weight for a 10-year-old boy in 2002 was 85 pounds compared with 74.2 pounds in 1963;
- The average weight for a 10-year-old girl increased to 88 pounds from 77.4 pounds in the same period;
- The average body mass index increased to 28 in 2002 from 25 in 1960 (Reuters/Washington Times, 10/28). A BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight and greater than 30 is considered obese (Meckler, AP/San Luis Obispo Tribune, 10/28);
- The average height of men ages 20 to 74 increased to 5-foot-9 1/2 inches in 2002 from about 5-foot-8 inches in 1960;
- Women's height increased to 5-foot-4 inches from about 5-foot-3 inches within the same age group and time period;
- The average height for a 10-year-old boy increased to 55.7 inches in 2002 from 55.2 inches in 1963 (Washington Post, 10/28); and
- Ten-year-old girls' average heights increased to 56.4 inches in 2002 from 55.5 inches in 1963.
CDC Director Julie Gerberding said, "This is exactly what we have been concerned about. It tells me that we are facing an ominous trend in the degree of obesity and lack of physical fitness in our country" (Reuters/Washington Times, 10/28).
Louis Aronne, president-elect of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, said, "Just telling people to go on a diet is not going to work. We're going to need more organized treatment programs. We need better medications. One of the great ironies is that obesity is still looked upon as a cosmetic issue, and nothing could be further from the truth" (USA Today, 10/28). The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the document. NBC's "Nightly News" on Wednesday reported on the study. The segment includes comments from Ogden (Hager, "Nightly News," NBC, 10/27). The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.