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Americans Are Getting Heavier and Shorter — How Do You Measure Up?

If you’re already groaning under the weight of holiday cookies, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control won’t come as a surprise — American men and women weigh on average 8 lbs. more than they did in 2000.

Plus, the CDC says, men and women are shorter on average — but not significantly.

According to the new report, released Thursday, the average male went from 189.4 lbs. in 1999-2000 to 197.6 lbs. in 2015-2016, and the average female went from 163.8 lbs. to 170.6 lbs. in the same time span. The only people who did not increase in weight are Black and Asian men, and Mexican-American women, all of whom did not show a significant change.

The women surveyed in 2015-2016 were shorter in height on average, from 5 feet, 3.8 inches to 5 feet, 3.7 inches.The men were also shorter at 5 feet, 9.1 inches compared to 5 feet, 9.1 inches. But interestingly, this reverses a trend from 2003-2004, when men were actually taller, and averaged 5 feet, 9.4 inches over that year.

The CDC gathered this data from 47,233 Americans aged 20 and older who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 and 2016.

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With these changes in weight and height, Americans’ body mass index, or BMI, understandably went up as well. BMI takes a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters to categorize people into four categories — underweight, normal, overweight or obese; though the system is often criticized for simplifying a person’s body makeup. Still, Americans’ average BMI is now up to 29.1 for men and 29.6 for women — up from 27.8 and 28.2, respectively. A BMI of 30 is considered obese.

The rising numbers are a concerning trend. With more Americans nearing obese levels, they’re at a higher risk for weight-related health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

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