How Much Should a Man Weigh in the U.S.?

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It's no secret that obesity is a burgeoning problem in the United States. The average male weight isn't the same as the ideal male weight. In fact, in the U.S., a country with high rates of obesity, the average weight has progressively moved farther and farther away from what might be considered ideal.

Because of this obesity epidemic, more and more Americans of all ages, genders, and social status are dealing with health problems linked to excess weight. These conditions include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.

What Is a Healthy Weight?

Looking at average weights can be deceptive. While the number on the scale may be exactly the same for two men, for one the number may represent an acceptable weight, while for the other it may represent a risky one. A man's height, the measurement of his middle, his genetics, and even his ethnicity all play a part in his overall health regardless of what he weighs.

Almost three of every four men in the U.S. is either overweight or obese. If you suspect you might be among them, figure it out not by comparing your weight with the average weight of other men your age, but by calculating your body mass index (BMI).

Body mass index is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. According to the National Institutes of Health, a BMI between 25 and 29.9 signifies overweight, and a BMI of 30 or more signifies obesity. If you need to lose weight, see your doctor. They can help you come up with a safe, manageable plan for weight loss.

How the Average Weight of Men Has Changed

Measurements of BMI, weight, height, and even head circumference have been collected in the United States since the late 1950s. They've revealed, not surprisingly, that men have been getting taller—and heavier.

A report from 1959 showed the average weight of male adults (those ages 20 and over) in the U.S. that year ranged from 146 pounds for a man 5 feet, 2 inches tall to 190 pounds for a 6-foot, 1-inch tall man. At those weights, the BMI of the shorter man would be a little over 26, and the BMI of the taller man would be at around 25. By today's standards, both of these men would be considered overweight.

In terms of height and weight trends, the average height of a man in the United States increased by just 1 inch in the 42 years between 1960 and 2002. However, in that same time, the average weight of an American male leaped from around 166 pounds to 191 pounds. The biggest increases were found in older men:

  • Men between the ages of 40 and 49 saw an average weight increase of 27 pounds.
  • Men between the ages of 50 and 59 logged an increase of 28 pounds.
  • Men 60 and older saw an increase of 33 pounds.

A Word From Verywell

From a broad perspective, these types of statistics can offer up an idea of the general health of the male population. They can help you to see where you fall within the statistics, which can be a powerful incentive to lose weight or exercise more if it's clear you're on the high end of the range for your height and age. Of course, you'll want to get your doctor's perspective as well.

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Article Sources
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  1. Fryar CD, Kruszon-Moran D, Gu Q, Ogden CL. Mean body weight, height, waist circumference, and body mass index among adults: United States, 1999-2000 through 2015-2016. National Health Statistics Reports; No. 122. National Center for Health Statistics, 2018.

  2. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. BMI tools.