Health Team

Survey: Americans weigh 20 pounds more than 20 years ago

Posted December 2, 2011

— Two years ago, Cindy Tyndall wasn't as devoted to exercise and eating healthy as she is today.

"It was probably a little after my 36th birthday, and I was about 60 pounds more than I am now," she said.

Tyndall fit the mold of the average American as seen in a Gallup survey of 1,000 men and women in the United States.

The survey shows the average weight for men is 196 pounds and 160 pounds for women — 20 pounds heavier than the same survey found in 1990.

Americans average weigh climbs Americans average weight climbs

Those results aren't a surprise to Rex Healthcare dietitian Ashley Honeycutt.

"People say they want to lose weight, but there (are) a lot of factors that play against them that they have a hard time working through," she said.

Diets are actually one factor that contributes to long-term weight gain, Honeycutt said.

"Diets are not the way to go. The way we teach is to make small changes," she said.

Tyndall had tried diets, counting calories and cutting out foods she loved. But this time, she chose Rex Wellness Center's Healthy Way program.

"It's a life change. It's not something that you do for five, six weeks or just two months," she said.

The 12-week group program includes counseling with a registered dietitian and encouragement to find physical activity.

Tyndall picked cycling. "I got so into it that I've done two bike races in the last couple of months," she said.

Regular exercise, on top of healthy food and proper portion sizes, has helped the pounds drop off and stay off for Tyndall.

"For the last year, my goal has been to maintain that," she said. "I have within five pounds, and I'm very pleased with that."

With the food-filled holidays coming up, dietitians don't advise that people try to lose weight until the New Year but instead focus on maintaining their weight.

Their big tip: Be careful with portion sizes. Eat all the beloved foods, but less of them.

Once beginning an effort to lose weight, consult a registered dietitian who can give advice on a healthy weight loss plan, and do it with a friend or a support group.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • mlm1982 Dec 8, 2011

    Goodness me, they took a survey twenty years ago where men averaged 176 and women averaged 140. This is the current study. Not you today and at the same time ask you about you 20 years ago.

  • cantstandgoloanymore Dec 7, 2011

    Man. The comments here would be a good sampling for a "decline of American intelligence" survey.

  • turkeydance Dec 6, 2011

    of course, the average American citizen is getting taller, too.

  • SmokeWagon Dec 5, 2011

    The VERY BEST diet plan...NOTHING TO BUT, NO FEES..NOTHING..AND you will lose 20-30 lbs...(1) If it has a drive thru..DO NOT EAT THERE. (2) Always eat at home..and take your lunch to work...!!! When you DO eat out..chicken, fish, salads, NOTHING fried and NO appitizer..You will look better and feel better..I guarantee it..!!!

  • fishon Dec 5, 2011

    The survey shows the average weight for men is 196 pounds and 160 pounds for women — 20 pounds heavier than the same survey found in 1990.

    So were the questions, male or female, and how much do you weigh? Or male or female, and how much do you weigh today compared with 20 years ago?

  • abylelab -BT- Dec 5, 2011

    i'm pretty sure i weigh about 80 lbs more than i did 20 years ago. of course, i was about a foot shorter back then...

  • scientistjo Dec 5, 2011

    I'll write a witty comment after I finish this box of Steakumms.

  • BubbaDuke Dec 5, 2011

    This report is innacurate. I weight at least 40 lbs more than I did 20 years ago.

  • br549znc Dec 5, 2011

    No, it is not rocket science. It just takes discipline.

  • dbass Dec 5, 2011

    Eat less, exercise more. It ain't rocket science.