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How Do American Adults Measure Up?

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From the time a baby is born in the U.S. to the time they die, Americans are measured in a variety of different ways.

Two of those ways involve measuring their height and weight, which is a task that has been undertaken at regular intervals through the National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), where the latest summary of these vital statistics covering data collected from 2011 through 2014 was published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in August 2016.

The results for height were obtained from a sample of 5,547 women and 5,232 men, while the results for weight were obtained from a sample of 5,425 women and 5,236 men. The report breaks down its collected statistics by major demographic categories of race and Hispanic origin, including the categories of non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, Hispanic and Mexican-American. The Hispanic category overlaps the sample of Mexican-Americans.

Because it is calculated from the height and weight data, the CDC’s 2016 report also includes the Body Mass Index data for each of these groups who had both their height and weight data collected as part of the survey. That data is provided for 5,413 women and 5,223 men.

The following table reveals the average height, weight, and body mass index that the NHANES survey found for adult American women Age 20 or older in 2011-2014.


Average Height, Weight and BMI for U.S. Women by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2011-2014
Demographic Group Average Height (in) Average Weight (lb) Body Mass Index (BMI)
White 64.1 168.4 28.8
Black 64.2 190.2 32.5
Asian 61.8 131.4 24.2
Hispanic (Includes Mexican-American) 62.0 164.7 30.0
Mexican-American 61.9 167.6 30.7
All 64.1 168.5 29.2

The next table reveals the average height, weight, and body mass index that the NHANES survey found for adult American men in 2011-2014.

Average Height, Weight and BMI for U.S. Men by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2011-2014
Demographic Group Average Height (in) Average Weight (lb) Body Mass Index (BMI)
White 69.7 198.8 28.7
Black 69.5 199.3 28.9
Asian 67.0 161.0 25.2
Hispanic (Includes Mexican-American) 67.4 189.9 29.3
Mexican-American 67.3 192.1 29.7
All 69.2 195.7 28.7

How much do you suppose that the averages indicated by these statistics for the entire population has been affected by the United States’ changing demography over the years?


Fryar CD, Gu Q, Ogden CL, Flegal KM. Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: United States, 2011–2014. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 3(39). [PDF Document]. 2016.

Source: https://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2018/10/how-do-american-adults-measure-up.html
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