What is the Average Weight for a Man?

Gains in Weight and Height Simply Don't Match Up

Discussing average weight can be a tricky thing. On the surface of things, it doesn't take into consideration height, girth, genetics, and even ethnicity, all of which play into calculating what you, as an adult male, should weigh.

From a broader perspective, however, knowing the average weight allows us to look at the general health of the male population. It offers us a glimpse at how overweight or underweight we are as a culture and how that impacts everything from the rise of disease to the cost of healthcare.

It also allows us to see where we fall within the statistics, ideally to provide us the incentive to lose weight or exercise more.

What the statistics shouldn't do is suggest that the average male weight is the ideal male weight. Certainly in the United States, a country with high rates of obesity, the average weight has progressively moved farther and farther away from what might be considered ideal.

Current U.S. Statistics Among American Men

This is evidenced by data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which showed that the average weight for an adult male in the U.S. is today a startling 195.5 pounds.

At that weight, you would have to be 6 foot 3 inches tall with a 32-inch waist (or a body mass index of 24.43) in order to fall on the outer edge of what might be considered normal (18.5-24.9).

In fact, based on NHANES report, the average height (5 feet 9 inches) and waist size (39.7 inches) of the American male resulted in a BMI of 28.74, placing him right at the border of the clinical definition of obesity.

And that, sadly, has fast become the norm in the U.S. rather than the exception.

A Historic Look at Average Weight

Measurements of body mass index (BMI), weight, height, and even head circumference have been collected in the U.S. since the late 1950s. Not surprisingly, men in the U.S. have been getting bigger, both in height and weight.

One of the oldest reports showed that the average weight of an American male in 1959 ranged from 146 pounds at 62 inches (5 feet 2 inches) in height to 190 pounds at 73 inches (6 feet 1 inch). The respective BMIs (26.7 and 25.06) would classify both men as being overweight by today's standard.

In terms of height and weight trends, the average height of a U.S. male rose by a mere one inch from 1960 to 2002. Within that same time span, the average weight leaped from 166.3 pounds to 191 pounds.

That figured only worsened as a man got older. During that same 42-year time period:

  • Men between the ages of 40 and 49 saw a weight increase of 27 pounds.
  • Men between the ages of 50 and 59 pegged an increase of 28 pounds.
  • Men 60 and older saw an increase of 33 pounds.

Today, almost three of every four men in the U.S. is either overweight or obese.

Average Weight for Boys

When it comes to your children, never play the law of averages. Unlike height, which you can't control, weight is something you should monitor as a child grows. You can do this by using a percentiles calculator to determine where your son should be at that stage in his development.

You can also monitor your child's BMI to get a more rounded understanding of what he should weigh at his specific height.

Childhood obesity is at epidemic proportions in the U.S. with one in three children being either overweight or obese. If your child is overweight and you don't know what to do, ask your doctor for a referral to a pediatric nutritionist who can help.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2007-2010." Vital and Health Statistics. 2012; 11(252):1-48.

Hathaway, M. "Trends in Heights and Weights." Yearbook of Agriculture. 1959:1-5.

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