Monday, August 1, 2011

What is the average weight of Americans?

For my first blog of August, my birthday month, I'm going to take a look at our weight and our attractiveness, or beauty if you prefer. I like attractiveness because I've known people who strongly attracted my attention but they weren't so physically beautiful, but you simply couldn't help wanting to be around them. Some call that charisma, but I don't know. Some of those people didn't have what I would consider a charismatic personality, yet I found them quite attractive, they "attracted" my attention, with their mannerisms, their personality, maybe even how they moved, or simply looked at things (either physically with their eyes and / or body, or their conception of ideas).

Too esoteric? Okay, how about this then?

Have you noticed there are more overweight people around now than when you were a kid? It's America as an unhealthy, lazy, low self esteem entity. We have less physical jobs (cool) and more mentally challenging jobs (cool) but it all means we get less exercise, something that is a natural healing agent for stress, heart disease, insulin related illnesses and cancer (yes, cancer). Just about anything you can think of that causes us grief physically, can be helped or aided by exercise.

Of course it can go the other way, too much exercise can also kill you so a moderation, even a heavier than lighter degree of exercise, is healthy. But little or none is surely a killer. We need to seek more proper exercise, less improper diet and a less immediate satisfaction in our desires and daily life. Part of the issue is travel, work and time. We generally commute more, work longer hours and more stressful hours and have little time left for health and welfare (which includes, down time, family time and entertainment or decompressing time).

Overdoing a good thing: World's Biggest Body Builder

But the bottom line still is, we're fat, as a nation. The last thing we need are clubs and organizations trying to say being fat is "OK". This comes from the paradigm of "I'm okay being who I happen to be" and "it's okay to just be you". This comes from how unhealthy it is to stress out that you don't look like a supermodel or a body builder. Yes, it's okay to be you, but it's also okay to try to make yourself better than you are. There is a window of what is healthy and should be acceptable to each and every one of us. If you weight 900 pounds, you should not feel okay about you. If your muscles are flacid and you have trouble picking up a tissue, you should not feel okay about who you are (physically); and this lends itself to who you are (mentally).

It takes time, effort and mental strength (discipline) to keep in shape. It is good mentally (up to a point) to try to look nice, to be attractive. It needs to be stated however, that there is a sense of moderation involved here. And to be attractive, is a mixture of who you are as a person, your "personality" and who you are as a physical being (your physical aesthetic), all adding up to how attractive you are to others. Do people gravitate to you because you are neat, clean, perhaps beautiful in some physical way, and interesting? These things lead to attractiveness.

Everyone has a different ratio of the attractiveness variant. Some people can even be what many would consider as "ugly" and still be attractive. It's interesting to note that this usually means unattractive physically, but not unattractive in personality or in wisdom. You might be extremely beautiful, but if you are an extreme racist, or are simply a mean person, it will make no difference whatsoever how beautiful you are, I'm still going to move away from you. Pretty much, the same goes for how you smell.

So some of the things people say about finding someone physically attractive (appealing) falls down when you consider these other things.

Yes, I would prefer to be around people I find attractive, over those who I find unattractive. That is my prejudice and we all have prejudices. But it is generalizations of prejudice that get us into trouble. I'm prejudiced against some foods over others. I love ice cream, but I hate eating liver, especially poorly prepared liver. So it is with other such issues. Prejudice simply means that you have had experience with something before, and you have made up your mind. You have been punched in the face, and you find no instance in your experience, where you would find pleasure in it; so you avoid allowing yourself to be hit int he face.

You find you like being around someone who is beautiful but typically there is a caveat people forget to mention; that if that beautiful person has an ugly personality, or for the discerning, a slightly unintelligent, unknowledgeable or unwise manner, or how you move is unattractive, or whatever, you may prefer to be closer to someone who has all the same positive elements and none of the negative ones. And I don't really see an issue with that.

The issue comes in when you are mean (and sometimes being neutral can be mean) to someone because they are lacking in some way you have judged, then you are being a very unattractive person yourself. All that being said, I'd rather be around a person that was beautiful on the inside and ugly on the outside, than someone who is ugly on the inside and beautiful on the outside. Not only is beauty relative, it's no one single thing. It's the blend of who you are as a person.

So, in getting back to the fattening of America....

Measured average height, weight, and waist circumference for adults ages 20 years and over (from the CDC):

  • Men:
    Height (inches):  69.4
    Weight (pounds): 194.7
    Waist circumference (inches):   39.7
  • Women:
    Height (inches):   63.8 (5'3")
    Weight (pounds):  164.7
    Waist circumference (inches):   37.0
Think about that for a minute.

 The Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES) of 1976-80, studied a sample of 20,322 Americans between the ages of 1 and 74. They collected all kinds of physiological data like height, weight, sex, race, blood pressure, etc.
Looking at just the adults (ages 18-74), they found
  • The average height of the men was 5 feet 9 inches, and their average weight was 171 pounds.
  • The average height of the women was 5 feet 3.5 inches, and their average weight was 146 pounds.
Getting any of this yet?

I don't know, I think we need to have more respect for ourselves, for our natural resources, for the jet fuel it takes to lug our fat butts across the skies, the more generally larger accommodations we now have to make for the morbidly obese as there are now so very many more of them, and so on and so on and....

The push button generation is dying out. Even video games are getting more interactive and health building. Even gamers are realizing you need exercise. It's always been my thought that if you want to do what you love doing, you have to take care of yourself so you can continue doing it. No matter what you are talking about. A more in shape body, leads to a more in shape mind; and it should be the other way around too.

Be all you can be. Be Smart. Be Brilliant. Be Beautiful.

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