Headlines fret about the growing obesity epidemic, but what does it mean? How did it happen? And what are the costs?
Illustrations by XPLANE
Posted 02.24.2009 at 1:50 pm
OBESITY IN AMERICA
Obesity, defined as a body-mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, is not equally distributed across the U.S. Check out this map to find out which state is the fattest (hint: it's the namesake of mud pie), which is the thinnest (think Coors Light), and which spends the most money on obesity-related health care (its governor pumps iron).
Read on, after the break, for more of America's (and the world's) fat facts.
Hit the Ceiling?: After a quarter-century rise, obesity prevalence has not increased since 2004. Still, 72 million adults (34%) are obese. Efforts are under way to reduce this to 15%, a level not seen since 1980.
Big Little Kids: Obesity rates in Americans ages 12 to 19 have more than tripled since 1980.
COUNTING THE CALORIES
Fat Happy Meals: Children should consume only around 1,300 calories a day, or about 430 calories per meal. But kiddie combos at most top fast-food chains far exceed that recommended limit. One meal- chicken fingers, cinnamon apples and chocolate milk from Chili's- delivers 1,020 calories. Here, the percentage of meals on kids' menus that exceeds the 430-calorie limit.
How Many Calories Does the Average American Consume Each Day?: We eat more than we need. Although the average person requires 2,000 calories a day, by one estimate Americans consume 3,766.
THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD
Obese and Overweight Adults by Country: Believe it or not, the U.S. isn't the most obese country on the planet (we're sixth). We're not even the most overweight (defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9). Here, the top eight countries in each category: obese or overweight.
THE PERSONAL COST OF FAT
Trouble at Work
Obese workers cost employees more in medical, disability, and workers'-compensation claims.
The Bill: What an average firm with 1,000 employees faces per year in extra costs associated with obesity
Discrimination: Percent of American adults who have reported weight discrimination
The Hidden Toll:
- Overweight people earn less than the non-overweight in a comparable job.
- Obese elementary-school children miss more days of school than their peers.
- Obese adolescent girls are less likely to attend college then their non-obese peers.
- Every year, there are nearly 112,000 obesity-related deaths in the U.S.