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Average American is heavier, but not taller than 20 years ago

by A. Pawlowski / / Source: TODAY

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Pssst, it’s not just you who cares about the reading on your bathroom scale. The government keeps track of those numbers, too, and yes, we really are getting heavier as a nation.

feet on scale
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The average American man, woman and child hasn’t gotten any taller, but now weighs more than their counterparts of a generation ago, according to figures released on Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics. The researchers collected data between 2011-2014, the most recent year available.

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The main findings:

The average U.S. man:

Height: about 5 feet, 9 ¼ inches tall

Weight: almost 196 pounds

How body size compares to 20 years ago: Same height, but he weighed 15 pounds less in 1994.

The average U.S. woman:

Height: 5 feet, 3 ¾ inches tall

Weight: about 168 pounds

How body size compares to 20 years ago: Same height, but she was 16 pounds lighter in 1994.

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Children:

The average 11-year-old boy weighs 13.5 pounds more than his counterpart of 20 years ago, but is one inch taller.

The typical 11-year-old girl weighs about 7 pounds more than a girl her age in 1994 and is about the same height.

The numbers are based on measurements collected from Americans taking part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

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Height matters

We're getting wider, but losing the stretch. Americans once towered over the height charts, with U.S. men and women born in 1896 ranked as the third and fourth tallest people in the world, a recent analysis found. A century later, they've dropped to 37th and 42nd place, respectively.

The tallest people on the globe now are men born in the Netherlands and women born in Latvia.

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