Americans weigh at least 15 pounds more than 20 years ago, CDC study says

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The average adult American's weight is at least 15 pounds more than it was 20 years ago, according a newly released study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. men, with an average height of 5 feet 9 inches, went from about 181 pounds two decades ago to 196 pounds today. Meanwhile, the weight of the average 5-foot-4-inch woman increased from 152 pounds to 169 pounds.

"About 10 years ago, about half the country was considered obese or overweight," said Dr. John De Beixedon of the Pasadena Center for Medical Weight Loss. "Now it's every single state."

The average American child is also heavier, the CDC said.

Girls are carrying 7 pounds more than their counterparts of the same height in the 1990s, while boys are 13 pounds heavier.

"It's not uncommon for people to consume 500 to 1,000 calories more -- every single day -- than their body is burning," De Beixedon said.

Fifteen pounds of weight gain can raise a person's body mass index by 2 points, which doctors say can have a significant impact on health.

"Most Americans are unaware that the No. 2 cause of cancer is obesity," De Beixedon said.

Contributing factors to weight gain include less exercise, more access to junk food and busy lives.

"You get older, metabolism slows down, life gets in the way," 56-year-old Lewis Kincade during a break from an outdoor workout in Pasadena. "The stress is probably hand-in-hand with weight gain."

De Beixedon believes another factor is also related: "The less people sleep, the harder it is to lose weight. In fact, they gain weight."
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