Americans are getting fatter but not taller, study finds

By Associated Press

A new federal report released on Thursday shows US adults are not getting any taller but they are still putting on weight.

The average US adult is overweight and just a few pounds from obese, thanks to average weight increases in all population groups, but particularly whites and Hispanics.

Overall, the average height for men actually fell very slightly over the past decade. There was no change for women.

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One factor may be the shift in the country’s population. There is a growing number of Mexican Americans, who account for about two-thirds of Hispanics in the US, and that group tends to be a little shorter, said one of the report’s authors, Cynthia Ogden of the federal agency the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings come from a 2015-16 health survey that measures height and weight. A sample of more than 5,000 US adults took part.

CDC records date back to the early 1960s, when the average man was a little over 5ft 8in tall and weighed 166lb. Now, men are almost 1in taller and more than 30lb heavier. But today’s average height of 5ft 9in is about a 10th of an inch shorter than about a decade ago.

The average woman in the early 1960s was 5ft 3in and 140lb. Now, women are a half-inch taller and about 30lb heavier, on average.

Other survey findings include that in the last decade, the average weight of men rose about 2lb, to 198. For women, it rose 6lb, to nearly 171.

Men have 40in waistlines, on average. Women’s waistlines are a little under 39in.

The average height of black men and white men has been holding about steady, at a little under 5ft 10in. Mexican American and Asian American men are roughly 3in shorter than white men and black men, on average. There was a similar height gap in women.