Public health crisis---obesity individual risks and causes
This dissertation research utilized the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2007-2008 to: (1) examine correlates of individual adult obesity in the United States, and (2) project the future rate of obesity into 2040. The first objective of this study was to evaluate which individuals were at risk of experiencing overweight and obesity in the United States using the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, health behaviors, health conditions, and nutrition patterns. More specifically this analysis estimated the odds that an individual was normal or obese utilizing individual level data and multiple variable analyses controlling for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), age, gender, educational attainment, marital status, health behaviors (i.e.---alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activities, activity limitations, health insurance, and access to care), self-rated weight status to actual weight status, health status and nutritional patterns of adults.
The second objective was to forecast future obesity and health trends derived from multiple years of NHANES data, starting in 2000. More specifically this analysis projected overweight and obesity trends to 2040. According to research from the National Institutes for Health, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in our country is increasing in association with the rise in obesity (NIH 1998). The American Diabetes Association estimates about 21 million people have diabetes, with another 54 million people diagnosed with pre-diabetes (ADA). NIH research has found carrying extra weight increases the chances of developing serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, certain kinds of cancers, as well as diabetes. For example, obesity tends to run in families. Children of obese parents are about 13 times more likely than other children to be obese (Anderson 2006). Additionally, obese family members, including siblings and grandparents, greatly increase the likelihood of childhood obesity (Anderson 2006).
Six questions were addressed based on these two objectives. First, do certain individuals experience higher odds of obesity based on sociodemographic characteristics, nutrition or health-related behaviors, physical characteristics, or access to healthcare? Second, what is the relationship between the dietary habits of individuals and the odds of that individual being overweight or obese? Third, are there certain behaviors that lower the odds that an individual will be overweight or obese? Fourth, is there a relationship between food security in the household and the odds that an individual is overweight or obese? Fifth, based on the current trends in obesity, what will the obesity prevalence rate be in 2040?