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January 8, 2019

America’s waistlines, charted. (Yes, they’re getting bigger.)

Daily Briefing

    U.S. adults on average weigh more than at any other point since 1999, but they have not grown taller, according to a report from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics released last month.

    How Americans diet, in 6 charts

    Report details

    The report is based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collected data on the body mass index, height, waist circumference, and weight of about 45,000 U.S. adults ages 20 and older, according to USA Today. The researchers relied on survey data from 1999 to 2016.

    US adults' weight trends

    The researchers found U.S. adults on average are overweight and a few pounds from being obese. The researchers identified weight increases from 1999 to 2016 among all racial groups, but noticed a particular increase among whites and Hispanics. According to researchers, men's average weight increased by about 2 pounds in the past decade to 198, while women's average weight increased by about 6 pounds to about 171.

    The researchers found women's waists on average grew more than 2 inches from 36.3 inches in 1999-2000 to 38.6 inches in 2015-2016, while men's waists on average grew more than an inch from 39 inches in 1999-2000 to 40.2 inches in 2015-2016.

    The researchers wrote, "Trends in BMI were similar to trends found for both waist circumference and body weight." The researchers found men's age-adjusted average BMI increased from 27.8 in 1999-2000 to 29.1 in 2015-2016, while women's age-adjusted average BMI increased from 28.2 in 1999-2000 to 29.6 in 2015-2016.

    While weight and waist size has grown, the researchers found the average height of U.S. men declined slightly over the past decade, while women on average experienced no change in their height. Cynthia Ogden of CDC said the growing number of Mexican Americans in the United States might explain why there has been a slight decline in men's average height. According to the researchers, Mexican American and Asian American men on average are about three inches shorter than whites and blacks.

    The researchers concluded, "Mean weight, waist circumference, and BMI in adults have increased over the past 18 years. Conversely, mean height did not change in many demographic subgroups and, in some groups, was lower in 2015–2016 than in 1999–2000"(Saker/O'Donnell, USA Today, 12/20/2018; Stobbe, AP, 12/20/2018; Owens, "Vitals," Axios, 12/20/2018; CDC's National Center for Health Statistics report, 12/20/2018).

    Next, discover 6 provider-led strategies to address food insecurity

     How six hospitals launched diabetes management programs

    One in six households experience food insecurity, which means they have limited or uncertain access to nutritionally adequate and safe food. Individuals who are food insecure are two times as likely to suffer from diabetes and are three times as likely to have poor overall health status.

    Recognizing the link between food insecurity, chronic illness, and poverty, several hospitals have launched innovative programs designed to facilitate patients' access to healthy, affordable food. Here are six strategies that your own organization can adopt.

    Read the Report

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