Friday, November 23, 2012

Obesity Rates Continue to Climb in U.S.

A new Gallup poll taken in November has reported that Americans now think their ideal body weight is 162 pounds which is the highest level reported since 1990. Men think their ideal weight is 185 pounds, the highest on record.  Meanwhile, the average actual weight of of an American male is 196 pounds, 11 pounds above their stated ideal.  Women believe their ideal weight is 140 pounds, tying for the highest Gallup has found and are 16 pounds away from this ideal weight with an average weight at 156 pounds.

We need to keep in mind, however, that body weight is only a number and it does not tell us the real story.  We should be looking more at the composition of body weight.  We should be thinking (and tracking) more in line with the percentage of ideal weight that comes under the heading of lean muscle level (muscle, bone, connective tissue, organ, skin etc.) and the percentage of body fat.  Typically, 42-45% of total body weight in men is in the form of lean muscle while women have about 35-38% lean muscle.  This is the key metric that we should be tracking.

If we look at the number of obese Americans during the past four years, we can see that these numbers continue to grow as well (even though some reports have stated a leveling off).  It's not until we reach the seventh decade that we start to see a drop and that is probably (in part) because of sarcopenia (a loss in lean muscle tissue).

As ideal weight and %body fat continue to increase in Americans and lean muscle and strength levels decline, we will continue to see a rise in other diseases and chronic conditions as well.  If we can continue to get more Americans moving we will see a drop in all of these health conditions mentioned below. 

At Koko FitClub we are in the business of "changing lives" by getting more people to become and stay active with our strength and cardio programs.  For more information visit a Koko FitClub near you.

Source: Gallup / Health Index


SheriM said...

Thanks Mike for posting these obesity stats. Unfortunately the health of this country will continue to decline until individuals start making healthy lifestyle changes including daily exercise and healthy eating. You would think that with all the information out there, Americans would be more conscientious about their health. I guess we need to keep sending the message out there till those obesity stats start to reverse (hopefully in our lifetime).

Michael Wood said...

yes, hopefully in our lifetime and our children's - hope all is well Sheri - Hi to Chris...