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Reducing the Cost of Obesity on the Health Care System

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Reducing the Cost of Obesity On the Health Care System

SSC 320 Methods of Social Research

Spring 2 2011

Alfred Steward

SUMMARY

Super sizing in America is costing us in many ways. Nearly two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Obesity can be related to many chronic diseases which place a huge burden on our health care system. The health care expenditures in the country exceeded $2.3 trillion in 2008. One reason is relatively few Americans practice the habit of regular physical activity. In addition, the reason for the increase in obesity is the amount of foods we consume that are high in fat and sugar. The sedentary life styles many of us lead prevent us from burning off the excess calories we consume daily and that leads directly to weight gain. The cost of low nutritional meals and lack of exercise is weighing heavily on the American health care system.

In this work, the researcher will design a program which will help to reduce obesity, thereby reducing the cost of health care and help American live healthier lives.

TABLE OF CONTENT

Topic Page

INTRODUCTION 4

RESEARCH QUESTION / PROBLEM STATEMENT/HYPOTHESIS 6

UTILITY OF THE PROJECT 8

REVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE 11

METHODS AND PROCEDURES 19

SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES 22

CONCLUSIONS AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS STUDY 24

BUDGET 24

REFERENCES 26

Introduction

Obesity has led to an increase in health care expenditures in the country. The rate of obesity in United States has increased for the last few decades. It has put a strain on taxpayers. A large percentage of the population in United States is obese. The disease is common among school children and adults. The increase in obesity in the country is associated with various factors. One major reason for the increase in rate of obesity is connected with poor eating habits. Many people in the country do not have healthy eating habits because cheap low nutritional fast foods are readily available. Many people eat fast foods that have high fat content and sugar content. In addition, the alluring advertisement for these types of food has led to increases in the levels of consumption. Everything may be "Supersized" for an additional minimal cost. A lot of the food manufacturing companies have made children and adolescents the target of intense and specialized food marketing and advertising efforts. In the same fashion, the fast food industry uses the appeal of Happy Meals, free toys, and playgrounds on the premises to attract the younger consumer. The companies offer different advertisements and this leads to consumption of the wrong foods among the younger population. Thus, many researchers have attributed the high rate of obesity with increased television viewing among the kids. Children spend a lot of time watching the television and this exposes them to the targeted advertisements. Also, obesity in the country is caused by lack of exercise. Most people do not exercise regularly and are unable to burn excess calories. To add to the problem, children are no longer getting the physical activity they did years ago because school systems have been cutting back on funds for physical education. The increase in the number of patients who are obese has increased the cost of health care in the country. The government has spent a lot more in health care cost than in developing programs to combat obesity. This paper will focus on obesity in United States and the cost of health care for tax payers and ways to reverse this devastating cycle.

Implementing an effective plan to educate the American public will enable them to make healthier life style choices. Coupled with making options more accessible, we will be able to reduce the number of obese and overweight Americans thereby reducing the cost of the health care system. Equally important, by teaching children healthy habits early in life and increasing their physical activity, we will help reduce childhood obesity, save billions of dollars in health care costs and, more importantly, save lives.

RESEARCH QUESTION / PROBLEM STATEMENT/HYPOTHESIS

Can reducing obesity in America bring down the cost of health care? Obesity is a major contributor to many chronic diseases which puts an enormous strain on the American health care system. A large number of people in the country, including children, are overweight or obese. The increase in rate of obesity in the country has resulted from poor eating habits and ineffective interventions. If more nutritious foods were affordable and available would this help Americans make better choices for their diet? What should be explored is if people were able to make better choices, maybe they would. Many people in the country do not eat well and consume foods that are rich in fat and sugar. People rely on fast foods because they are cheaper and easy to get. Unfortunately, the result is they fail to eat a balanced diet. This increases their risk of becoming obese and getting other chronic diseases. Most of the children who are obese results from them being provided with fast foods and their parents not teaching them healthy eating habits. Hence, they consume foods laden with fat,

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