Just How Fat Are We?

Headlines fret about the growing obesity epidemic, but what does it mean? How did it happen? And what are the costs? Illustrations by XPLANE

OBESITY IN AMERICA

** State Lines**

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