Here's why that matters.

By Don Reisinger
December 20, 2018
Arno Images Getty Images/Cultura RF

Despite pushes to improve healthy habits and eating well, Americans are having a hard time keeping the weight off.

Since 1999, the average American male has watched his weight increase from 189.4 pounds in 1999 to 197.9 pounds in 2016, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found. The average weight for American females over that stretch has increased from 163.8 pounds in 1999 to 170.6 pounds at the end of 2016.

The weight increase is apparently attributable to an obesity problem driven by poor eating habits and not enough exercise. In fact, the average American man is slightly shorter today—69.1 inches—than he was in 1999, when he was 69.2 inches tall. Similarly, the average American female is now down to 63.7 inches tall, compared to 63.8 inches tall in 1999.

Given the data, it’s perhaps no surprise the CDC found that the average American waist circumference and body mass index is up for both males and females. The mean waist circumference in men jumped from 39 inches in 1999 to 40.2 inches in 2016. Waist circumference in women increased from 36.3 inches to 38.6 inches. In BMI calculations, women saw their average measure increase from 28.2 to 29.6. Male BMI figures have increased from 27.8 to 29.1.

The findings could at some point have a similarly negative effect on life expectancy figures. Obesity is linked to several health risks, including an increased chance of getting cancer and diabetes. Obesity also increases the chances of heart disease.

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