US airlines are sounding the alarm: obese passengers are overloading planes

The problem is not new: back in 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration increased the number of kilograms a plane can lift.

The problem is not new: back in 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration increased the number of kilograms a plane can lift.

Photo: Shutterstock

One of the largest air carriers in the United States, United Airlines, has stopped selling middle seats on its flights due to the fact that the average American has gained weight and passengers simply do not fit. Both men and women gained weight.

The problem is not new: back in 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration increased the number of kilograms a plane can lift. Now they will raise the standard again. It’s not that the plane lacks engine power. Enough. But the plane’s balance in flight suffers. Yes, and three passengers no longer fit in three seats. So for now, the solution is this: Leave three to six middle seats on the Boeing 757 free. These will be seats in the middle of the cabin or closer to the tail section, which will distribute the weight evenly.

The new rules are introduced right now, in the autumn, not by chance. Winter is coming. Passengers, besides everything, turn around, clothes also weigh something. The average American gains 2.5 kg because of winter clothes (we think it’s more in Russia). But the main reason, of course, is not winter, but fullness.

See for yourself. Officially, in the USA, the norm per passenger, including hand luggage, is 81 kg for women and 90.7 kg ha for men. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, an adult man now weighs an average of 90.1 kg with a waist circumference of 102.87 cm. A woman is 77.5 kg, an average waist circumference of 98 cm. Without luggage and clothes , Of course , this is pure weight. That is, the traveler in the US is guaranteed not to fit into the regulations.

Americans are gaining weight fast. More recently, the aviation standard for men was 83 kg, for women – 65 kg. And this was close to the truth: in 1960, a man in the United States weighed 75.4 kg, and a woman – 63.6 kg. That is, the planes safely transported slender people. And now the weight of passengers is growing rapidly and the plane will not change so often. The plane is a rather conservative product.

The reason is nutrition, of course. In the US, food is pretty cheap, but in such food you can find trans fats, GMOs and you know what else. The so-called organic food, in which there is nothing of the kind, is incredibly expensive and remains only for the elite.

But these reasons are well known. The pandemic seems to have started irreversible processes: both stress and some not fully understood processes in the affected organism. According to New Mexico State University, 48 percent of American adults gained weight rapidly in the first year of the pandemic. In just two years of covid, 71 million new fat people appeared in the country. Women are more affected by the pandemic.

On average, in two years, a person has gained a fantastic 13 kg. Not everything is smooth sailing in Russia either. According to some reports, every fourth person in Russia gained an average of 6.1 kg during the pandemic. But the planes are doing fine.

If we put aside the effects of covid, which we still don’t understand, then the main reason we gain weight is stress. And long. Such “horror without end” leads to an increase in the level of the stress hormone – cortisol, and this, in turn, changes taste preferences. I want to eat more tasty things, and these are often foods high in salt, sugar, fat, or everything at once. There is also evidence that under stress the body digests food more slowly. Stored calories from reduced physical activity are not converted to muscle mass, but are stored as fat, mainly in the abdominal area, which puts people at risk for diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And the more fat, the higher the risk from the development of chronic inflammatory processes, a decrease in the rate of metabolism. All this affects the general state of health, both physical and mental. Research has also shown that the psychological stress of the pandemic has increased the effect of weight gain on vulnerable people, those who are already overweight.


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