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Our body weight has increased since 1960

By Senior Editor
Food Pyramid -

Healthy Life Style during the 60s

Back in the 1960s, people had a healthier lifestyle. Their everyday life was different and more mobile in the physical sense. In those days TV didn’t have many programs to offer and there was no computer to pacify our mobility or rule our spare time. Back then, we didn’t eat as much junk food as we do today. So, what do the statistics say?

25 pounds weight gain since the 60s

According studies made by National Center for Health Statistics, our average weight has increased considerably since the 1960. We are roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) taller, but on an average we are nearly 25 pounds (11.3 kg) heavier!

The figures below show this alarming development, comparing the average difference in body weight from 1960 and 2002.

The average weight for men aged 20-74 years rose dramatically from 166.3 pounds in 1960 to 191 pounds in 2002. But the interesting fact is that the weight increase was greater among older men.

Greater weight gain among older men

  • Men aged 20 – 39 were nearly 20 pounds (9.1 kg) heavier on average in 2002 compared to 1960
  • Men aged 40 – 49 were nearly 27 pounds (12.2 kg) heavier
  • Men aged 50 – 59 were nearly 28 pounds (12.7 kg) heavier
  • Men aged 60 – 74 were almost 33 pounds (15 kg) heavier

Younger women gain weight faster than younger men

The average weight for women aged 20-74 increased from 140.2 pounds in 1960 to 164.3 pounds in 2002. The figures below show that the weight increase was greater among younger women. This can have serious consequences in the long run. Why is the problem escalating faster among younger women compared with younger men?

  • Women aged 20-29 were nearly 29 pounds (13.1 kg) heavier on average in 2002 compared to 1960.
  • Women aged 40-49 were about 25.5 pounds (11.6 kg) heavier
  • Women aged 60-74 were about 17.5 pounds (7.9 kg) heavier

BMI trends

Is the trend the same for teens and children? To answer this question, let’s compare figures by using the Body Max Index (BMI). The BMI can be used to evaluate an individual’s weight status in relation to height. The use of the BMI is a common method of tracking weight problems and obesity.

The average BMI among adults has increased from approximately 25 in 1960 to 28 in 2002 and unfortunately, the average BMI for children and teens has increased as well, see figures below:

  • The average BMI for a 7-year-old boy increased from 15.9 to 17.0.
  • The average BMI for a 7-year-old girl increased from 15.8 to 16.6.
  • The average BMI for a 16-year-old boy increased from 21.3 to 24.1.
  • The average BMI for a 16-year-old girl increased from 21.9 to 24.9.

So, the average American has become a little taller, but weighs much more than in 1960. Please note that this study was made in the year of 2002. One might wonder how it looks today…. Do you think the trend has shifted, or are we even more overweight today?

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