How Much Does the Average American Weigh?

Americans invest billions of dollars in the weight loss industry every year. When one diet fails, there’s always another one to replace it. While it might seem like we’re a nation obsessed with health and fitness, the numbers tell a different story. The average American is at least 20 pounds heavier than they were over 50 years ago — and the outlook doesn’t look promising. Let’s take a quick look, including how much the average American weighs (No. 5) and which diseases are related to our weight (No. 7).

1. The American diet has changed

A family eating a meal together

We’re eating more calories than ever before. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

American cuisine hasn’t just changed in terms of what we’re eating. How much we eat also has health experts in a constant state of worry.

According to Business Insider, in 1961, the average American ate approximately 2,880 calories per day. That’s already above the 2,000-calorie diet the government uses to make general nutrition recommendations. Today, we’re consuming over 3,600 daily calories. That’s a lot of food. And it’s highly unlikely the average American is eating 3,000 calories worth of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

Next: Are we giving up on weight loss?

2. Americans are giving up on weight loss

a woman's feet on a scale with measuring tape wrapped around her ankles

Fitness is still popular — but Americans used to prioritize losing weight more than they do today. | Getty Images

Despite the growing popularity of health food stores and group fitness classes, fewer people are prioritizing weight loss these days.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a smaller percentage of Americans tried to lose weight in 2014 than in 1988. It’s completely unclear why this is happening. What’s definitely clear, however, is that eating more calories, and worse food, isn’t making Americans any healthier.

Next: Extra weight puts pressure on these important body parts.

3. How does your weight affect your health?

Woman measuring her belly fat with her hands

Excess weight can put a ton of stress on your body. | iStock.com/JaoNgoh

People who are overweight on average experience more health problems related to their size. However, it’s also important to remember that your weight is often a reflection of what you eat and how often you do (or don’t) exercise. They’re not the only contributors to weight gain — but they still matter.

Being overweight can put excess pressure on your bones, organs, and joints. However, according to the World Health Organization, feeding your body excess sugar and saturated fat affects your risk of diabetes and heart disease more than being overweight alone.

Next: 2 in 3 Americans are overweight

4. Many Americans don’t weigh what they should

Young girl drinking a warm chocolate drink

Childhood obesity is also a serious (and growing) problem. | iStock.com/tagphoto

In the 1950s, obesity affected only about 10% of the U.S. population. Today, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders estimates 2 in 3 American adults are overweight or obese. Additionally, about 1 in 6 children and teenagers have obesity.

Researchers can’t pinpoint one specific reason why these statistics are so high, and it’s impossible to focus more research efforts on just one possible factor. Poor diets and sedentary lifestyles only partially contribute to how much the average American weighs today.

Next: The average American weighs this much.

5. So, how much does the average American weigh?

man eating a fast food burger

Big fast food burgers are contributing to America’s weight problem. | Kzenon/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Americans don’t weigh what they used to — and that’s not a good thing. As of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American man 20 years or older weighs 195.7 pounds. The average American woman 20 years or older weights 168.5 pounds.

Data suggest that in 1960, the average man only weighed 166.3 pounds, while the average woman weighed 140.2 pounds. This drastic increase in average body weight causes experts to question the state of Americans’ overall health.

Next: How healthy are Americans?

6. Is the average American healthy?

diabetic man measuring his glucose levels

Diseases like Type 2 diabetes are highly preventable. | iStock.com/BernardaSv

A person’s ideal body weight depends on their individual height and weight, as well as their gender. Calculating your ideal body weight only takes a minute. Unfortunately, other national statistics show us chronic disease rates are on the rise — many of them possibly related to overweight and obesity.

Millions of Americans currently live with at least one chronic illness. Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese — a segment of the population at higher risk for dying of a preventable disease.

Next: These are the diseases related to our weight.

7. Which diseases relate to your weight?

doctor in a white coat holding a symbol to indicate heart health

Protect your heart by maintaining a healthy weight. | iStock.com

No matter how healthy you might feel, your weight does matter when considering your long-term health. Some of the most common health conditions in America include heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Your risk for all of these diseases significantly increases the more you weigh.

If most American adults are overweight, it only makes sense that chronic disease affects so many of our lives each year.

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