Ladies Sporting Larger Bras

How Big are Your Coconuts?

It's easy to foist this one off on the burgeoning weight of Americans, but that wouldn't be entirely true.  According to an article in Women's Wear Daily earlier this week, the American bra size has gone from a 36C to a 36DD in only 10 years.  A similar British study has our tea sipping buddies going from a 34B to a 36D over the same time frame.  Finally, in Australia over 40% of Aussie gals wear a DD or higher. Obesity Rates Have Increased So clearly something is up.  We have gotten fatter in the last 10 years.  Obesity increased by 24% in the US from 2000 to 2005 I'm sure it's even higher now.   But according to, obesity alone doesn't explain the increase.  If you look at the American numbers, the circumference (the 36) didn't change, just the size of the breasts.  Hmmmm. Birth Control Pill & Artificial Hormones The same Aussie article suggests that birth control pills at higher doses and artificial hormones found in foods, plastics and cosmetics could also be contributing to larger breasts.   If there's ever been a reason for organic meat and mineral makeup this might be it. Fake Boobs Of course the first thing that flashed through my mind when I first heard about the changes was how many fake boobs are out there?  So I went and found out.  In 1997 we were doing 101,000 breast implants per year in the US.  These days the number is more like 300,000.  Reconstructive surgery for breast cancer survivors and other medical issues tacks on another 40,000.  So the number of implants has more than tripled over the 1997 rate.  Given that there are about 150 million American women there's not a lot of statistical significance there. The Girls So what to do with the girls?  This will put bra manufacturer's to the test as women seek more comfortable support for their twins.  (Yes, I'm using every euphamism I can think of!)  I'm thinking in particular of sports bras providing enough comfort and support.  With increased mass you'll have increased motion during sports activities and, um, drop out, something every woman dreads. The other concern is increase tension to the neck and shoulders as we try to keep our breasts in place.  In fact there were 140,000 breast reduction surgeries in 2008 which I suspect were medical reasons as much as for cosmetic ones. What are your thoughts?  I'd love to hear 'em.  Keep 'em clean! Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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10 Responses to Ladies Sporting Larger Bras

  1. Conrad March 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    The women from my side of the family are – ahem – of the large coconut strain. My wife is from a long line of avocados. When the genes were passed on to my daughter – I won.

    As to the why above, my first thought that in the general population, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it be from environmental hormones. I also wondered if, even though the overall circumference of the women didn’t really change, that the fat content in that circumference might be up, filling those bras more fully.

    It is a mystery, but I can only probe it so far …

  2. Lisa Johnson March 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Excellent point about environmental hormones, one article I read as I was researching this was suggesting synthetic hormones in makeup and plastics might be a contributing cause.

    Of course the hormones given to animals which we then eat could certainly be in the mix.

    I think your point about our overall “fat content” going up has some merit as well.

    Thanks !


  3. Meredith March 25, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    As a woman that fits the “normal” American bra size now I can tell you it is no easy task finding things like:
    bathing suit tops that fit
    button down shirts that fit (without having the rest of the shirt look like a giant burlap sack w/ shoulders half way down my arm)
    sports bras that fit AND actually control the motion. Buying the super extra support makes no difference for me – no matter who the manufacturer is (I’ve tried at least a half a dozen brands) – I still need 2 sports bras to go for a run & even then the indents & pain on my shoulders are barely tolerable.
    I hope sports bra companies really start to focus on making bras that really control the motion, don’t bruise my shoulders, and don’t make me need to wear 2 of them at a time.

  4. Lisa Johnson March 25, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Meredith I hear you. I work in the fitness industry and I see a lot of woman with uncomfortable, not really supportive bras. It is something some engineers should spend some time on. I am a fan of Title IX and They both have a really great sports selection if you’ve never been there. Check ’em out.


  5. Meredith March 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    I have bought several bras from Title IX and I like Road Runner Sports as well. In general the bras are ok (Maia seem to be one of the best), but after a 5 mile run none keep me comfortable. As for why this has changed – I think it’s the hormones getting added to so many foods like milk (I’ve noticed young girls now have boobs way before I ever did). Definitely a good reason to buy organic.

  6. Tara Burner March 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Well, speakin from the DD perspective it’s near impossible to find a bra that fits properly.
    I agree to the environmental effect as well as food choices/hormones/etc. because some of the girls at my teen daughters school are as big as I am and they live off fast food, junk and meat…my daughter on other hand doesnt eat fast food, soda, garbage and only eats organic chicken rather than hormone injected and she’s nowhere near the size of everyone else.

  7. Lisa Johnson March 25, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    I had a friend who had a cleaning lady, in her 30s, who had just moved to the States from South America. After a year she went from an A cup to a D cup but had only gained a little weight. She asked her doctor about it and he said, “hormones in chicken.” I was horrified and went straight for the organic chicken from that point on.

    We have to remember what goes into our bodies has an effect, both good and bad. It’s easy to overlook makeup and plastics, but they can be a problem too. Thanks Tara for sharing :-)


  8. Tara Burner March 25, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    the body care and makeup aspect is a part too.
    obviously my daughter only wears Affordable Mineral Makeup since I own it! LOL
    but she also only uses organic body wash/shampoo/conditioner and she’s ‘small’ overall compared to her friends, some of whom are younger than her but are my size! it’s crazy that some people just don’t grasp the effects of what they put in and on their bodies!

  9. Luann Abrams March 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Oh, if only this was a problem for me….

  10. pharmacy tech April 4, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    nice post. thanks.

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