Report: Average American Waistline Continues To Expand

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 09/17/2014 | 01:00 PM EDT

New study finds average waist circumference increased from 37.6 inches to 38.8 inches over last decade

American waistlines are getting wider, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


In an analysis of data, health researchers determined the average waistline of U.S. citizens increased by more than an inch over the past decade. The study revealed that the number of Americans with abdominal obesity increased by about eight percentage points between 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, in addition to an increase in waist circumference measurements.


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"We’ve been doing these studies for a number of years now," said the study’s lead author Dr. Earl Ford. "We’ve had three previous publications. Our last one looked through 2008 so we wanted to see what was happening in recent years."


Though most scientific studies on obesity have focused on body mass index (BMI), some researchers now say that may not be an accurate measure of abdominal obesity, because it gives a measurement of overall body mass, but not how much weight is distributed, the New York Daily News reports.


To determine the results of the new finding, researchers used data from a national study conducted every two years. Date came from 32,816 men and nonpregnant women 20 years old and older.


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The average waist circumference increased from 37.6 inches in 1999-2000 to 38.8 inches in 2011-2012. Overall, men had the smallest average increase in waist circumference of 0.8 inches, while women increased by about 1.5 inches. Researchers also found that African and Mexican Americans had larger increases in waist circumference and abdominal obesity, compared to white Americans.

(Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Corbis)

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