Fitness + Well-being

Here's How Much Fatter Americans Have Gotten Since the '60s

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Picture the average American couple in the 1960s. Now picture the average American couple today.

Something more than questionable fashion should stand out, according to new data from the CDC, which finds the average weight of a U.S. woman is now 166.2 pounds — about the same weight as the average man in the 1960s — up from about 140 pounds during that time, reports the Washington Post. That's an increase of 18.5 percent. And men, who weighed 166.3 pounds in the 1960s, now tip the scales at an average of 195.5 pounds, for a 17.6 percent gain. 

Is it as bad as it seems? Essentially, yes, though the typical height of men and women has grown by an inch, which at least accounts for something. But the main reasons for our growing bellies are no surprise: Americans are eating more food but less health food, and are exercising less.

The data shows 35 percent of Americans over 20 are considered obese, while 69 percent of adults are either overweight or obese, reports CBS Atlanta. As for children, one in five between 12 and 19, and 18 percent between 6 and 11, are obese.

A 2012 study also found Americans were the third-heaviest people on the planet behind residents of Tonga and Micronesia. At the time, the average American was 33 pounds heavier than a Frenchman, 40 pounds heavier than a citizen of Japan, and 70 pounds heavier than a person in Bangladesh, adds the Post.

Dying to get back to that 1960s frame? It's actually more important to watch what you eat rather than exercise constantly, though exercising and eating healthy together is obviously beneficial. The New York Times notes that 30 minutes of jogging achieves the same calorie reduction as cutting back on two 16-ounce sodas.

(In related news, click here to read why we weigh less on Fridays.)