Discover what it’s like to be an American man. 198 pounds and 5 feet 9 inches tall, he weighs 198 pounds. A 40-inch waist and a body mass index of 29 place him at the high end of the “overweight” range.
What does the average woman look like? Her height is 5 feet 4 inches, her weight is 171 pounds, and her waist size is 39 inches. There is a close relationship between her BMI and 30.
That’s not how Americans used to look. From 1960 to 2002, both men and women gained 24 pounds on average; through 2016, men gained eight pounds and women seven pounds.
According to a recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics, the American body has evolved significantly over the past few decades.
The average weight of white men in 1999 was 192 pounds, while the average weight of black men was 189 pounds. In 2016, the average white man weighed 202 pounds, while the average black man weighed 198 pounds. (These numbers are rounded.)
In 2016, the average waist size of white men increased to 40 inches from 39 inches in 1999, and among black men it increased to 39 inches from 38 inches.
In 1999, the average woman weighed 164 pounds and had a 36-inch waist. In 2016, the average weight of black women was 186 pounds, almost unchanged from 1999.
However, the average white woman weighed 162 pounds in 1999 and 171 pounds in 2016. Black women’s waist sizes increased from 39 to 40 inches in 2016, while white women’s waist sizes increased from 36 to 38 inches.
Only from 2007, when Hispanic men weighed on average 184 pounds, does the C.D.C. have data on Hispanics. The figure had risen to 191 pounds by 2016.
In 2016, the average Hispanic woman weighed 169 pounds, compared with 161 pounds in 2007.
The age-adjusted mean height of men increased to 69.4 inches in 2005 from 69.2 inches in 1999, and then decreased to 69.1 inches by 2016. Mexican-American men, whose average height was 66.5 inches in 2016, may have contributed to the decrease.
Black men’s average height decreased to 69.1 inches in 2016 from 69.3 inches in 2005. There was no significant change in the average height of women during the study period.
“The results of the new study are based on actual measurements, not self-reported measurements,” said Cynthia L. Ogden, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.