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Report Finds that Americans’ Ideal Weight is 11.6 st (162 lbs)

A report commissioned in the US has shown that Americans’ concept of how heavy the ideal weight is has actually grown over the years.

The Gallup report, which was based on telephone interviews of 1,015 adults between 15 and 18  November 2011, showed that the average American man’s ideal weight is 14lbs heavier, while the average American woman’s is 11lbs heavier than they were 20 years ago.

Men today say that their ideal weight is 185lbs, but they weigh an average of 196lbs. Women, on the other hand, say that their ideal weight is 140lbs, but their actual average weight is 156lbs.

The study’s researchers wrote that “Americans appear to be slowly shifting to higher weights, adjusting their expectations of what is ideal over time – mirroring the increase in actual weight.”

The study revealed that 65% of the Americans involved in the study exceeded their ideal weight, 13% were lighter than their ideal weight and 16% were at their ideal weight.

While 54% of those surveyed said that they wanted to shed pounds, only 25% said that they were seriously taking action to lose weight, according to the report.

It’s important to remember that the survey only determined people’s weights in regard to their ideal weight, not, in fact, their healthy weight – which is different from person to person depending on their height, age and sex.

The most popular way of determining a person’s ideal, healthy weight is by calculating body mass index (BMI), which is a ratio of height to weight.

BMI Index:

  • 18.5 – 24.9 = Healthy
  • 25 – 29.9 = Overweight
  • 30+ = obese

(source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Another, perhaps more traditional means of determining whether or not you’re at a healthy weight would be to measure the circumference of your waist.

40+ inches in men could indicate a predisposition to obesity-related health risks, while the danger circumference for women lies at 35+ inches.