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Average Woman Is 5'4" and 140 Pounds: Problem?
Old 03-12-2014, 10:31 AM   #1
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Average Woman Is 5'4" and 140 Pounds: Problem?

I just read in a newspaper article about eating disorders that the average woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds. Hearing so much about the obesity crisis, I expected it to be about 5'4" and at least 170 pounds!

Help me understand this. I realize this is several pounds heavier than women used to be. It's debatable about whether 140 pounds really has health implications for a 5'4" woman. What I can't understand is where is the crisis? The average means that there are sufficient women way under this to counter balance those way over. So---is there really a crisis?

At a recent visit to Costco, I saw so many obese people that I was buying into the obesity crisis. But after reading the article and returning from the gym which has a predominance of extremely thin (and some muscular) people, I'm confused as to what is really the case.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangomonster View Post
At a recent visit to Costco, I saw so many obese people that I was buying into the obesity crisis. But after reading the article and returning from the gym which has a predominance of extremely thin (and some muscular) people, I'm confused as to what is really the case.
The above are two independent events and really don't cover the landscape of the average for women.

My neighbors on both sides of us consist of two widows about 75 years old and each probably weighs 110 pounds (maybe soaking wet) and are about 5' 5". Neither of these two women shop at Costco (none near us) or go to a health spa.

On the other hand, a visit to McDonald's in south Houston brings anther perspective of obesity into play.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:45 AM   #3
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:46 AM   #4
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According to the CDC, your article was mistaken. They say the average weight was 140 in 1960, but as of 2002 it had risen to 164 for women aged 20-74.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad347.pdf
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:54 AM   #5
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Thanks, Spudd. That makes a little more sense.

The 140 pounds is still being quoted all the time, however---even on a government site for women:

Eating disorders | womenshealth.gov

They are getting the info from the National Eating Disorders Association, so maybe their agenda is to focus on the anorexic women who skew the weight down. I'd go more with the CDC.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:02 AM   #6
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On a more serious side, check out Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and search obesity. They don't use the average as the more meaningful statistic is the percentage of the population that exceeds what they consider obese, as well at the percentage of the population that engages in unhealthy habits such as an unhealthy diet and insufficient exercise. These have all increased dramatically since 1980. They also document the increases in health problems and illnesses associated with this rising obesity.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:13 AM   #7
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Thanks, Spudd. That makes a little more sense.

The 140 pounds is still being quoted all the time, however---even on a government site for women:

Eating disorders | womenshealth.gov

They are getting the info from the National Eating Disorders Association, so maybe their agenda is to focus on the anorexic women who skew the weight down. I'd go more with the CDC.
I think anorexia while undoubtedly serious, is very rare. I live in a part of the city where many young and body conscious people live. In the 10 years or so I've been here, I've seen one woman who looked alarmingly thin.
I don't think 5'4" is even overweight, or in any way likely to be a problem.

Regarding Costco- fat is inversely correlated to income. Costco is not for poor people, it's shoppers are solidly middle class and above. Wal*Mart is another story

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Old 03-12-2014, 11:20 AM   #8
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I don't think that article is correct. Just doing a little googling, seems the average BMI for women is about 27-28 and 5'4" and 140 pounds is a 24 BMI.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:22 AM   #9
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I know they say average.... but I wonder if it is median


IOW, there can be a lot of women in the 130 ish range.... but also a lot over 200.... if they use median it could be a lot lower number than avg...
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Old 03-12-2014, 12:00 PM   #10
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Help me understand this. I realize this is several pounds heavier than women used to be. It's debatable about whether 140 pounds really has health implications for a 5'4" woman. What I can't understand is where is the crisis? The average means that there are sufficient women way under this to counter balance those way over. So---is there really a crisis?
My view differs from yours. Even if the average weight is reasonable there are still millions who are obese and I consider that a crisis. Similarly, the average income may be around $50K/yr which is a decent amount of money but there are millions who make under half that so there is a crisis in the number of poor people too even though the average income is fine across the board.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:38 PM   #11
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Crisis - a : an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome <a financial crisis>


I am not a woman but am 5'5" tall (short if you prefer) and weighs 140 lbs. Nobody has ever called me obese, not even chubby. The only crisis I have is my situation at megacorp (evil boss, RE now or later).
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:09 PM   #12
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Having spent the last month in Asia the obesity problem (not just women) over here in the US really got my attention walking through the airport on return. We seem to be turning into over weight cellphone addicted zombies.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:19 PM   #13
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Crisis - a : an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially : one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome <a financial crisis>


I am not a woman but am 5'5" tall (short if you prefer) and weighs 140 lbs. Nobody has ever called me obese, not even chubby. The only crisis I have is my situation at megacorp (evil boss, RE now or later).
If you were a 20 year old unmarried woman with these stats, you may be planning on some weight loss before the Bikini season rolls around.
But no heterosexual man at the beach would ever consider you fat, at your current weight or even quite a bit more. I think the typical husband would consider himself lucky if his wife were 5'4" and 140#.

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Old 03-12-2014, 04:45 PM   #14
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Height of 5'4" and 140# would not be considered obese, although the BMI of 24 would be right at the borderline.

However, same as an earlier poster, I found it hard to believe that it is the norm of American women. Well, not of most of the women I see in public. Perhaps the stat is compensated for by really skinny women elsewhere.

And by the way, my wife's BMI is less than 24.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:48 PM   #15
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Statistics like that are useless. If you designed bras to fit the "average" person they would only have one cup. The important statistic is how much of our population is at an unhealthy weight.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:49 PM   #16
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Statistics like that are useless. If you designed bras to fit the "average" person they would only have one cup...
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Only one cup? Would that not be odd? I prefer to see women who need two cups. For symmetry, you know?
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:50 PM   #17
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Height of 5'4" and 140# would not be considered obese, although the BMI of 24 would be right at the borderline.
BMI of 25 is at the borderline of overweight, not obese. It takes 30 to be at the borderline of obese.

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Old 03-12-2014, 04:58 PM   #18
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Yes, wrong choice of word on my part.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:04 PM   #19
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Only one cup? Would that not be odd? I prefer to see women who need two cups. For symmetry, you know?

That's my point the avaerge is meaningleaa
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:47 PM   #20
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Weight is relative. I am in my mid 60s, female. i am taller than average --5'10''. Last summer I went in for my annual physical, weighed around 180. I felt I looked good and because my face was somewhat full most people thought I was younger than my true age. BUT my blood work numbers were bad--cholesterol too high, blood sugar high, etc, even though I exercised and ate well. The doctor recommended weight loss. So I exercised more and cut out all the tasty foods and lost 20 pounds. Now at 160 my cholesterol, blood sugar,etc are much better. But I look like a scare crow and I have a lot more wrinkles and look older--some friends have even asked if I am sick.

I doubt if I can keep my weight at 160, I am just not eating enough and I am hungry! But I guess I am healthier. Not sure what the weight answer is for me.

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