Is there an average weight for men?
A person's ideal weight depends on several factors, including their height and build. Maintaining a good weight is important for health and can reduce the risk of developing serious conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
This article looks at average weight in men and how this varies between different groups and world regions. It also discusses how to determine a healthy weight for a man, as well as risk factors for being overweight, and what men can do to improve their weight.
- Country, race, height, and age are all factors that affect the average.
- The average weight for a particular group of people is not necessarily a healthy weight.
- Both men and women are becoming heavier and with that come potential health risks.
Average weight of men in the United States
The average weight for men varies depending on a range of factors, including height and age.
There is no simple answer to this question.
When only talking about the U.S., then the average man, aged 20 years or older, weighs 197.6 pounds (lbs). He also stands around 5 feet 9 inches tall and has a waist circumference of 40 inches. This is according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2015 and 2016 and published in 2018.
In contrast, the average U.S. woman is both lighter and shorter, weighing 170.6 lbs, standing 5 feet 3.7 inches tall, and having a waist of 38.2 inches.
Within the U.S., the average weight for men varies with age. Younger and older men tend to weigh less than those in middle age.
Another factor is racial background. For example, non-Hispanic Asian men tend to be lighter, but also shorter, on average, than black, white, or Mexican-American men.
|Age group (years)||Average weight (pounds)||Average height (inches)|
|60 and over||194.7||68.3|
Table 1. Average weight and height for U.S. men aged over 20 years, according to age group.
|Racial group||Average weight (pounds)||Average height (inches)|
Table 2. Average weight and height for U.S. men aged over 20 years according to race.
Average weight globally
At a global level, average weight changes according to country and region.
For instance, North Americans are heavier on average than people from any other geographic region, whereas people in Asia are the lightest, on average, compared to people in all other parts of the world.
This is based on a study that combines data from both men and women.
|World region||Average weight (pounds)|
|Latin America and the Caribbean||149.4|
Table 3. Average weight in adults (men and woman combined) by world region
Ideal weight using body mass index
Body mass index is often used to determine a healthy weight.
Ideal weight varies from person-to-person and depends on height, build, and age.
The most widely used method for determining a healthy weight is the body mass index or BMI. This measurement uses height and weight to estimate the proportion of body fat in an individual.
Despite being only an estimate, BMI corresponds reasonably well with more direct approaches for measuring body fat.
Normally, it provides a decent indication as to whether an individual is overweight or underweight for their height. It is also quick, easy, and cheap to perform.
Anyone who knows their height and weight can work out their BMI using this online calculator or by consulting these tables. Alternatively, BMI can be calculated manually by using one of the following formulae:
- weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, or kg/m2
- weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared and multiplied by 703, or lbs/inches2 x 703
BMI is interpreted differently for children and teenagers. However, for adults aged 20 years and older, a BMI:
- below 18.5 is considered underweight
- 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a healthy weight
- 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight
- over 30 is considered obese
Based on a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9, this table gives a rough guide to the ideal weight for an average adult man of a specific height:
|Height (inches)||Ideal weight (pounds)|
Table 4. Ideal weight range based on height and a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9.
Unfortunately, BMI does have its limitations. It tends to overestimate or underestimate body fat in certain groups of people. For instance, at the same BMI:
- men, on average, have less body fat than women
- Asian people, on average, have more body fat than white people
- white people, on average, have more body fat than black people
A high BMI can also result from being lean or muscular, such as in the case of an athlete. This is because muscle is denser and weighs more than fat.
BMI can also underestimate body fat in older people or those who have lost muscle or bone mass.
Risks of being overweight or obese
As mentioned earlier, the average weight for a group of people is not the same as a healthy weight.
If the average U.S. man weighs 195.7 pounds and stands 5 feet 9 tall, then his BMI is 28.9. That puts him firmly in the overweight category.
According to CDC data from 2011–2014, 73 percent of men and 66.2 percent of women in the US were estimated to be overweight or obese based on their BMI. These figures were just 60.9 and 51.4 percent for 1988–1994. Upward trends in weight have also been observed in other developed nations.
Being overweight or obese puts a person at greater risk of developing:
- type 2 diabetes
- coronary heart disease
- high blood pressure
- gallbladder disease
- some types of cancer
- breathing problems, such as sleep apnea
Reaching and maintaining an ideal weight
Setting specific and achievable goals, such as jogging twice a week, is a good way to reach or maintain an ideal weight.
It is usually recommended that people with a BMI above 30 should try to lose weight. People with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 should try to prevent further weight gain. However, they should also try to lose weight if they have two or more of the following risk factors:
- family history of heart disease or diabetes
- high blood pressure, high LDL or low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes
- a waist circumference greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women
Even losing a small amount of weight can improve overall health, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of developing other conditions.
A doctor can advise on whether a person needs to lose weight or simply stop gaining it. They may also be able to help formulate a weight loss plan or be able to provide access to other professional advice and resources.
General tips for reaching and maintaining an ideal weight include:
Setting specific and achievable goals
"Exercise more" and "eat less" are too vague, whereas "run 10 miles every day" or "lose 10 pounds each week" might be unrealistic.
Committing to walking for 30 minutes each day or losing 1 to 2 pounds a week, for example, would be far more sensible goals.
People should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week. The exercise should raise the heart rate and cause sweating.
Cycling, swimming, brisk walking, running, dancing, tennis, and soccer are all examples of suitable alternative or additional activities. If possible, an individual should aim for 60–90 minutes of exercise a day.
Reduce portion sizes
People can try using smaller plates or replacing half of a normal meal with fruit and vegetables. Or aim to reduce consumption by 500 calories per day. Planning meals in advance can help with this.
Those wanting to lose weight should focus on eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, they should aim to eat leaner meats and get protein from healthier sources, such as poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
Replacing sugary drinks with water or drinking unsweetened tea and coffee is also helpful while also limiting alcohol.
Calculating BMI can help men determine their ideal weight range. Reaching and maintaining that range can improve health and reduce the risk of developing conditions associated with being overweight or obese.