"Todd," the digitally rendered man pictured at far left, is a physiologically average American male, his paunchy proportions based on averages from CDC anthropometric data. Beside him stand average men from Japan, the Netherlands and France. How do you stack up?
Originally created by digital artist Nickolay Lamm for his Body Measurement Project, the renderings compare the body of the average American male to those of average men in Japan, the Netherlands and France. Over at The Atlantic, Health editor James Hamblin explains that Todd the American-everyman is between the ages of 30 and 39, measures five-feet-nine-inches tall, and has a waist 39 inches around. His body mass index – aka "BMI," a useful, but fundamentally flawed, metric for identifying weight problems – is 29; "just one shy of the medical definition of obese." So how does Todd compare to his international counterparts?
Todd [has] three international guyfriends. They met at a convention for people with perfectly average bodies, where each won the award for most average body in their respective country: U.S., Japan, Netherlands, and France. The others' BMIs, based on data from each country's national health centers, are 23.7, 25.2, and 25.6 [respectively].
America, fuck yeah! No but seriously, America, you have a problem. To make matters worse, recent findings suggest the use of BMI by physicians to assess "body fatness" (that's the CDC's term, not ours) has actually resulted in an under-estimation of America's weight problem.
And yet, there are signs the winds of weight-gain are shifting in America. Data released late last year by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that, for the first time in decades, obesity rates among America's impoverished kids are actually declining; and findings published just a few months ago in the journal Pediatrics indicate America's youth are living all around healthier lifestyles. Kids these days, amirite?