The next bubble? America's waistline


The average American adult weighs around 10% more than he/she did in the 1980's; men up from 168 to 180, women from 142 to 152. A cow at slaughter tips the scales 25% higher than it did in the 60's. The average car/truck/SUV put on 500 pounds in the past ten years, and 20% of new homes have three-car garages in which to keep them.

The standard casket is four inches wider than thirty years ago and the theater seat has widened 10%. National Football League players have been completely transformed; in 1976, only three were three-hundred pounders. Last year, 570 hit this mark. Perhaps our fast food restaurants are partly to blame. Portions there are two to five times larger than they were twenty years ago.

Perhaps to accommodate our national girth, the average home that provided 290 square feet per person in 1950 now gives us a spacious 893 square feet, almost enough for our toys and necessities. Filling the extra space has caused us to generate 4.5 pounds of solid waste a day, 50% more than fifty years ago. Within this larger living space we've been able to create comfortable viewing areas for our households to enjoy an average 8 hours and 11 minutes of TV per day, up from 6 and 45 in 1980.

These interesting tidbits, courtesy of the Smithsonian magazine, illustrate an important point, I think: many of us, even during an recession, still have a lot of room to cut back on consumption before we reach a major artery.

Plus, I find these stats damned interesting.