The Growing Concern of Poverty in the United States
The effects of obesity spread from food costs to indirect and direct health costs in the pulic and private sector. Notably, a multitude of studies have demonstrated the strong link between income and obesity while determining factors that explain the high correlation between high body mass index and low socioeconomic status. Though many researchers have focused on one or two factors that he or she has found to be a strong predictor of body mass index, a majority of cases have failed to look at the issue in a systems approach: identifying the ways different variables interact with one another and the relative magnitude with which they affect obesity. For this reason, our study focuses on what factor has the strongest apparent correlation between obesity, in regards to low-income consumers: poverty or food prices? Available data was collected, analyzed for trends, and then using statistical methods the data was correlated, regressed, and then tested for significance. A great number of variables for both food prices and poverty indicators led to statistically significant relations with obesity. Thus, as expected from the literature, both food prices and poverty indicators were found to be strong and important of body mass index. Two of the most notable variables were the fruits and vegetables price index and the percentage of Americans on food stamps. According to the findings, efforts to reduce obesity should focus on keeping prices of healthy food as low as possible, while giving consideration to expanding food stamp use for higher quality foods.