Dr. Helen

The Average American Woman Now Weighs as Much as the Average 1960s Man

I read the headline over at the Washington Post (via Newsalert) and I can’t say I was surprised:

The average American woman weighs 166.2 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As reddit recently pointed out, that’s almost exactly as much as the average American man weighed in the early 1960s.

Men, you’re not looking too hot in this scenario either. Over the same time period you gained nearly 30 pounds, from 166.3 in the 60s to 195.5 today. Doing the same comparison as above, today’s American man weighs almost as much as 1.5 American women from the 1960s. At 195.5 pounds, put five American guys in a room and you’ve gathered roughly half a ton of manhood.

Overall weight gain since 1960 is slightly greater for women (18.5 percent) than for men (17.6 percent). And both sexes have gained roughly an inch in height over the same period, which accounts for some of that weight gain.


Maybe the weight is seen as unsightly by some, but on average, those who are overweight but not obese might be healthier. I imagine it matters how much one weighs in proportion to height and if the person is active and healthy vs. overweight and sedentary. I must admit that at five foot six, if I weighed 166, I would be a mess. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I can’t carry that kind of weight but some women can.

Also read: 

Is Obesity a Disease or a Moral Failing?

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