The average American is heavier than at the start of the 21st century — and very close to being obese, according to Centers for Disease Control data on body metrics.
The average American man is 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 198 pounds; an average woman is 5 feet, 4 inches and 171 pounds, based on CDC data. That compares with 189.1 pounds and 163.6, respectively, at the start of the century.
A man of average height is considered overweight between 169 and 202 pounds and obese above 202 pounds. A woman of average height is considered overweight between 140 and 174 and obese above 175 pounds. The average non-Hispanic white American male weighs 202.2 pounds.
The Obesity Society, a scientific research organization, this month classified obesity as a worldwide, noncommunicable chronic disease. "Obesity meets all criteria for being a disease, and therefore, should be characterized as such," said Cathy Kotz, the society's vice president and a professor at the University of Minnesota.
In 2015-2016, age-adjusted mean body mass index — a measure of body fat based on height and weight — rose to 29.1 for men and 29.6 for women from 27.8 for men and 28.2 for women during 1999-2000. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A person is considered obese at 30 and above.
The body mass index for men and women is the same until about age 40 and then increases at a faster rate among women.
Keeping weight off during the holidays is a challenge.
Americans tend to add about 0.4 percent to their weight within 10 days after Christmas Day and 0.2 percent gained during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a separate study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016.
And holiday weight gain isn't limited to the U.S.
In the CDC report, American men — on average — gained nine pounds while maintaining roughly the same height, expanding waistlines by an inch and a half to 40 inches since the start of the century.
The risk for heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men.
American women are even closer to being obese on average. Over the last 18 years, the average woman has gained 2.4 inches around the waist and their BMI has increased to 29.6.
Over the last 18 years, the mean weight, waist circumference and body mass index in adults has increased for all age groups, for non-Hispanic white and Mexican-American men and women and for non-Hispanic black women.
Non-Hispanic black men have managed to keep their average weight, waist measurement and body mass index since 2006. No changes were observed in the averages for non-Hispanic Asian men and women.
The weight gap between sexes has narrowed in recent years.