Take the 2-minute tour ×
Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The Daily Mail says that the average weight of both males and females in Europe is UN 70.8kg in this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2160934/Overweight-obese-threaten-world-food-security-study-warns.html giving no sources, but mentioning the WHO about other statistics in the previous paragraph.

When I try finding backing for these sources I run into a dead end: http://www.google.no/search?q=average+european+weight+70.8&oq=average+european+weight+70.8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 All of the sources of this information seem to come from newspapers reporting the same story, and so I'm afraid this circular referencing.

Is there any backing for this fact, or any alternative statistic? Can we trust this source? Are there reliable sources for this statistic?

share|improve this question
1  
I tweaked the title and claim to make it more appropriate here (asking what a typical european weighs would get closed as off-topic, but being skeptical of a particular source of the stat is not). Hope that is OK. –  matt_black Jan 13 '13 at 14:18

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The answer to this question was published in the original article:

The study, The weight of nations: An estimation of adult human biomass, is to be published in the open-access journal BMC Public Health.

Here is that study:

For each country, we obtained estimates of the population in 2005 by age and sex from the United Nations population database [6]. We obtained estimates of mean (and SD) body mass index (BMI) from the WHO SURF2 report [7] and estimates of mean height (and SD) for 190 countries from national health examination surveys, primarily the Demographic and Health Surveys[5]. Because surveys were not conducted in every country, height data were not available by age and sex in some countries. To estimate mean height (and SD) by age and sex in every country using the available data, we built a linear regression model (of age-sex group, average height, WHO region and sub-region) using R open access statistical software.

Table 3 contains the quoted statistic for Europeans.

share|improve this answer
    
I did see that study. It was the source for the same information on a Wikipedia article. However, I see references to neither "70.8" nor "Europe" or "European" in that study. –  DarkLightA Jan 13 '13 at 14:19
    
I had just updated to explain where the number comes from - Table 3. –  Oddthinking Jan 13 '13 at 14:23
    
Perfect! Thanks for looking into it! –  DarkLightA Jan 13 '13 at 14:25

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.