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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Brits are European heavyweights
British men are only shorter than the Dutch
The British really are the heavyweights in Europe - statistics show that, on average, we weigh more than our European counterparts.

Figures from the Department of Trade and Industry looked at 294 measurements - from height and weight to the length of the leg from the crease below the buttock to the crease at the knee.

They are published in the department's handbook of anthropometric and strength measurements, compiled by University of Nottingham researchers so manufacturers can design products that take account of average size - such as chairs that can bear people's weight.

British men and women were found to be heavier than any other nationality in Europe - only beaten by Americans.


This is an enormous range of measurements

Department of Trade and Industry spokeswoman
On average, British men weigh 79.75 kilos and women 66.7 kilos.

Britons also stand head and shoulders above most other Europeans.

Men have an average height of 1,755.1mm, (5ft 9 in), second only to the Dutch, but only slightly shorter than American men.

The average British woman is 1,620mm tall (just under 5ft 4in) - again only outstripped by the Dutch and Americans.

Italians top

British women have an average chest measurement of 1,007.8mm, (39.7inches), compared with 965mm for Italians, 912.6mm for Japanese and 806mm for Sri Lankans.

But again, Americans came top of the scale.

British women also come second to the Americans in terms of waist measurements.

But British women's bottoms are smaller. Italians come top of that table, with Americans in second place.

British male feet are 268.8mm long (10.5 inches), shorter only than the Dutch and the Americans.

British men are also only second in buttock circumference to Americans

Design aid

Ring finger length was also measured. A British man's measures on average 78.7mm (3.1 inches), 1.77mm longer than a German man's but, again, shorter than an American's.

British women's ring fingers are an average 72.6mm.

A Department of Trade and Industry spokeswoman told BBC News Online: "This is an enormous range of measurements.

"They help manufacturer's design products which take account of people's shape so, for example, chairs can bear people's weight."

Dr Wendy Doyle, of the British Dietetic Association, told BBC News Online part of the reason for British people topping the European weight table could be that food portions were becoming bigger, like those in the US.

"If you think about things like bags of crisps, you used to be able to buy 25 gramme bags, not they're 55 grammes.

"And if you buy a chocolate bar, they're now in jumbo sizes."

Dr Doyle said people should watch the size of their portions and making sure they took regular exercise.

See also:

18 Jun 98 | Health
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