Weight & Height For the Average American Woman

by Damon Verial, Demand Media Google
    The developmental phase of a child in instrumental in determining her height and, to some extent, weight.

    The developmental phase of a child in instrumental in determining her height and, to some extent, weight.

    The average American woman weight 164.7 pounds and stands 63.8 inches -- or 5 feet, 3.8 inches tall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The height and weight of the average American woman has varied throughout history, mainly due to environmental factors, but partly due to the influx of immigrants, who are genetically predisposed to be taller or shorter than American women. It can be informative to know where you stand in relation to the average American woman.

    Factors of Height

    Both genetics and environment are key factors in determining an individual woman’s height. In general, if your parents are tall, you are also likely to be tall. But the environmental factors present during your childhood development also influenced your adult height. Diet is particularly important in influencing height, as lack of nutrition during development can lead to growth stunts. This is particularly evident in countries where the population has risen quickly in average height; this change in average height tends to correspond with a change in national dietary habits.

    Factors of Weight

    While some people are predisposed genetically to a specific body type, environment also plays a significant role in a woman’s weight. The concept of calories in vs. calories out can help individuals understand why excess weight may be stored; if you are eating more calories than you are expending, a storage of these calories in the form of fat may occur, leading to a heavier body. The American diet has changed to emphasize foods higher in calories, simple carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the increase in the average weight on an American woman.

    Height and Health

    In evolutionary psychology and other fields of science, scientists use height as an indicator of health. The reasons for this are multifold, but include genetics. If you lack the genetics necessary to fight diseases in your environment during development, your growth may be stunted. Environment is another factor as a lack of proper nutrition may deplete the energy needed for you to reach your full potential for height. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist, states in his book "Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters," that correlational studies on height and other factors show that height can be an important indicator of overall health and genetic fitness. However, these models apply to the population as a whole, not an individual person.

    Weight and Health

    Weight and health are significantly correlated. When weight gain caused by excessive fat storage occurs, it increases the risk for chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Thus, weight control is important to the American woman, whose average weight has slowly approached unhealthy levels. Because height and muscle mass are confounding factors in using weight to predict health, doctors use BMI and fat percentages as measurements instead of weight alone.

    References

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Body Measurements
    • Body Composition Factors and Physical Activity Status as Predictors of Health Related Quality of Life in Obese Men and Women; Gregory Trone
    • Weight in America; Barbara Wexler
    • Encyclopedia of Human Development; Neil J. Salkind
    • Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters; Alan Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa

    About the Author

    Damon Verial has been writing since 2001. Verial is an applied psychologist with specialties in evolutionary psychology, relationships and attachment theory. His thesis investigates the evolutionary adaptations of sex differences and preferences.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images