Are you into medium height men with pot bellies? Then America is for you. Like Nordic GODS a la Alexander Skaarsgard who make other men quiver in fear of their beauty? Perhaps move to the Netherlands. Artist Nickolay Lamm created Todd or a simulation of the average American man’s body as part of his Body Measurement Project.
Sorry, I don’t mean to “fat shame” the average American man, I am just saying that the average American man, according to the Center For Disease Control, on average is 5’9″ and has a BMI of 29 which is just one shy of obese. It’s no secret America has an issue with its relationship to food, to bodies (health wise and vanity wise) and really grasping what it means to be healthy and how that often has little to do with one’s appearance. Still, I’m not going to pretend like obesity isn’t a health issue when it often is (but not always is) a health issue but I am also not going to pretend like fat shaming and making people feel absolutely horrid about their bodies, appearance and self image ins’t just as serious of an issue.
With that said, your future husband is probs going to be a little cherubic but hey, cherubs are cute. I don’t look like a model, why should the guy I’m shacking up with? Men representing averages in Japan, The Netherlands and France were also recreated.
The average American woman’s BMI is 28.7, right up there with Todd. The intention of this exercise, in showing average bodies of varying countries, is to examine how culture affects one’s relationship to health and food. We’re not just getting rounder, we’re getting shorter as well.
According to The Atlantic, “Americans are also losing ground in height. For most of two centuries, until 60 years ago, the U.S. population was the tallest in the world. Now the average American man is three inches shorter than the Dutch man, who averages six feet. Japanese averages are also gaining on Americans’. Anthropologists tie these recent changes primarily to diet and lifestyle, as we’ve turned habitable wilderness into excess.”
In fifty years the average Dutch man could be six foot three. So what does all this mean? The United States has to work out why the general population’s health is poor. It should be noted that the United States falls well below, like FAR below the international average in adult literacy, math and technology. It’s a reasonable assumption that the United States’ horribly unequal education system, (Did you guys have nutrition classes in school because I didn’t?) and terrible, terrible health care has a lot to do with the country’s general understanding of bodies. Not to mention, we love our fast food and fast food companies love exploiting us.
According to a report by the National Academy of Science, the United States compared to other wealthy nations found that, “The U.S. fares worse in nine health domains: birth outcomes, injuries and homicides, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, drug-related mortality, obesity and diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and disability. […] The panel concludes that part of the nation’s poor ranking can be attributed to problems with its $2.6 trillion-a-year health care system (the world’s most expensive by far). Those problems include the 50 million Americans without health insurance, fewer doctors per capita, less access to primary care and fragmented management of complex chronic diseases.”
So there you have it. The only question is if our generation will change all of this.