It's probably no secret at this point that America has a bit of weight problem. But never before has it been so poignantly and unflatteringly illustrated than now, thanks to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program that uses 3-D computer-generated models of the average American, French, Dutch and Japanese man. The half-naked models, wearing nothing but white briefs, show that the typical American male aged 30 to 39 sports a wider waistline than his foreign counterparts.
"Rather than explaining it in bar graphs or pie charts, I thought it would be a lot more powerful visually to see what we look like compared to other countries," Nickolav Lamm, the Pittsburgh artist that created the models, told NBC News.
The illustrations may prove to be a wake-up call for Americans. According to the CDC, 69 percent of Americans aged 20 and up are considered overweight or obese. The average body mass index (BMI) for adult American men is 28.6, which is on the far end of the "overweight" BMI scale (25 to 29.9) and very near the measure for obesity (BMI of 30 and higher).
The average males of other countries fare much better. The BMI for French men was reported to be 25.5, with the Netherlands at 25.2 and Japan enjoying the smallest of the sample, 23.7.
University of Michigan research professor Matthew Reed added that the phenomenon is not gender exclusive, and that women too have proportionally grown in size. In fact, Reed says, Americans both male and female "have gotten heavier at historically unprecedented speed since about 1960."
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