Title: A public health policy approach to reducing economic and health costs of obesity in the USA

Authors: Rubini Pasupathy; M. Nicholas Coppola; Robert Posteraro

Addresses: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre (TTUHSC), 3601 4th Street, MS 6225, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA ' Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre (TTUHSC), 3601 4th Street, MS 6225, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA ' Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre (TTUHSC), 3601 4th Street, MS 6225, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA

Abstract: Obesity is rapidly increasing in the USA. It is one of the most serious public health problems that significantly increase the risk of many chronic illnesses. Obesity disproportionately affects people with lower incomes and minority groups and imposes a heavy financial burden on the healthcare system in the USA. Thus, there is a critical need for healthcare policies that are designed to stem the growth of obesity. The aims of this paper are to discuss the cost of obesity to the national healthcare expenditure, and to present and discuss various policies and strategies adopted by several states across the country to prevent the growth of obesity. Additionally, the role of interest groups and political will with respect to formulating healthcare policies on preventing obesity are discussed. A multifaceted approach that incorporates market and cultural forces is recommended to prevent obesity and reduce healthcare costs.

Keywords: obesity costs; national healthcare expenditure; interests groups; public policy; public health policy; economic costs; health costs; USA; United States; political will; cost reduction; market forces; cultural forces; culture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFSNPH.2015.067575

International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, 2015 Vol.5 No.2, pp.184 - 193

Accepted: 25 Nov 2014
Published online: 17 Feb 2015 *

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