The average adult body weight in the US (2010) is 88.7 kg for men, and 75.4 kg for women; and the obesity rates are also high. The standard definition of obesity in the United States is a BMI* of 30 or higher. By this definition 36% of the adult population is obese, by far the highest level among OECD member countries. A BMI of 25 and over is considered to be overweight. The percentage of overweight US adults is 68%, nearly five times the rate in Japan (14%). Furthermore, the big problem is that there is no stop to this trend of increasing obesity. The average weight of both males and females has increased by about 12 kg compared to 50 years ago, and the rate of obesity has increased by a factor of 2.7 from 13.4% in the early 1960s.
So why have Americans become so fat? According to the experts, there is no single cause; instead, it is the result of several, seemingly harmless, changes. It has become easy to obtain high-calorie foods at a low cost as a result of an increase in food supplies and technological innovations to achieve high productivity in food production, which were developed to overcome problems of malnutrition that existed in the past. Ironically, obesity rates tend to be higher in low-income groups. There are also those who raise concerns about the increase in amounts of antibiotics, etc. that are being administered to livestock. It has also been pointed out that with the development and structural changes of the US economy people work longer hours, and more women are working outside the home, leading to an increase in the number of people who eat high-calorie junk food for their meals. On top of this, people aren't getting enough exercise. With urbanization and a decline in physical labor, it has been estimated that Americans today are getting nearly 30% less exercise compared to half a century ago.
Acronym for Body Mass Index. Calculated from height and weight.