Obesity as a major concern in the world


The U.S. is known to be one of the richest and most developed countries in the world, yet it has one of the highest obesity levels in the world. The issue of obesity is projected to worsen, especially if the right health policies are implemented. Childhood obesity is even becoming a major concern. This paper entails a report analysis about the connections existing between obesity, poverty, and diabetes 2. The paper shows that the obesity is attributed to living styles of individuals and is commonest among the poor communities especially African-Americans and Hispanics. Obesity is also found to trigger other related health problems especially diabetes 2, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

The contemporary American society has specifically countersigned high-tech developments, which have clearly changed the once existed social order. On the contrary, more than 78.6 million Americans still languish under the obesity epidemic (Hughes, 2011). The federal government has worked hard to end the problem by contributing several millions of US dollars to counteract the seemingly increasing social-economic issue facing contemporary society, especially due to ineffective polices and strategies.

Studies like the study by Hughes (2011) have indicated positive relationship between obesity and diabetes 2. Further, Native Americans constituted the largest number of people diagnosed with both obesity and diabetes 2. A dipper analysis of the results indicated that the Hispanics and African Americans constituted up to 70% of all the participants (Hughes, 2011). These two groups are the poor majority in the United States, which further explains the relationship between poverty and the two health conditions; obesity and diabetes 2. In this regard, obesity and diabetes two seem to depend on poverty conditions among individuals while diabetes 2 is on the other hand facilitated by obesity as a health condition.

Obesity and diabetes have been brought out as some of the highly growing health conditions among Americans, although the prevalence of such growing health issues is literarily among the poor communities, which includes mainly the Hispanics and African Americans. Prevalence in obesity among these two communities and other individuals facing the problem of obesity was found to facilitate the acquisition of diabetes 2 (Levine, 2011). Unfortunately, the chain does not stop at this point, since suffering from diabetes 2 contributes to further health problems such as hypertension and blindness. Other problems that could be triggered by diabetes 2 include heart diseases, cancer, depression, immobility, arthritis, and asthma. Essentially, the implication of the study was that poverty, social issues, facilitates obesity, which is a healthy problem. Obesity then triggers the possibility of suffering from diabetes 2, which is also a health problem. Diabetes 2 then contributes to various diseases such as heart diseases, cancer, depression, immobility, arthritis, and asthma.

Research Goal

The key area of focused is the connection between poverty, obesity, and diabetes 2 in the United States. The research is centered on generating deductions regarding whether obesity and diabetes 2, collectively, depend on the poor living conditions and eating habits among Americans especially African-Americans and Hispanics. The research uses interview results approved or disapproved the assertions that poor living styles in the U.S. contribute to increased obesity, which then facilitates the acquisition of diabetes 2. This is done through analysis of the themes presented in the interview results.  Failed policies are found to be contributing factors alongside other factors like poor eating habits, false labels, consumption of high fat and calories foods, lack of physical exercise, and poor food-purchasing behaviors among others. The most affected communities are African-Americans and Hispanics. Way of dealing with the issue including implementation of better health policies, promoting physical exercises, and creating awareness on consuming healthy foods (Levine, 2011).

Research Significance

The research will be highly significant in dealing with obesity and diabetes 2 as major health problems in the U.S. among the most affected communities. It will contribute to reduced medical budget allocation owing to the cutback of annual medical expenditures as result of the effectiveness of the health policies and obesity campaigns initiated as a result of the research findings.  Today medical expenses are relatively high due to the increasing number of obese and diabetic 2 patients according to Levine (2011). The ever-increasing cases of premature deaths that result from obesity, diabetes 2, and the other resulting diseases currently seems to be overlooked, but from the point of view attributed to the results, a solution would be reached to save the U.S. economy from loosing important skills and future generations due to immature deaths. The obesity endemic is be the key target and cannot be left up in the air. The study results will be significant in upholding a considerable progress that has already been made in the health sector concerning public health and life expectancy within the past few decades as depicted in Klein et al. (2004). The problem and all the resulting health issues will be solvable using the study results. The results would yield to the formulation of effective health policies to replaced failed ones.           


Qualitative Method


The research used qualitative approach to bring out participants’ opinions about poverty, obesity, and diabetes 2, and the each issue is connected to the other.  Interview technique was used as the most applicable data collection method for the qualitative research (Seidman, 1998), Turner, 2010). The interview technique was used to collect qualitative data about aspects like health policies on obesity and their effectiveness, failed policies, the best strategies for handling the obesity problems, participation in physical exercises, lack of adequate income to purchase healthy foods, and composition of foods purchases/consumed by Americans based on the sample population among other aspects. Opinions of respondents were also collected on whether enhanced purchase power could promote the consumption of better foods in terms of balanced diets.

Data Collection

Qualitative data was collected using interviews on personal opinions regarding poverty, obesity, and diabetes 2 based on specific theme depicted through the interview questions. Interview technique was the best in collecting qualitative data on people’s opinions (Seidman, 1998). A sample of 10 participants was used. All the participants took part in the interviews. Each participant in the sample provided unique opinions regarding the major causes of the increasing number of obese people in the society with reference to the nature of the interview questions and the presented themes. They gave various opinions on common foods that people prefer to consumer, and some of the perceived reasons for eating such kinds of food including lack of enough money to purchase better foods.

Policy issues were also reflected. The participants gave their opinions about the existing policies on obesity and what could be done to facilitate better policies. To bring out the issue of poverty as a key factor investigated, the participants were obese African -Americans and obese Hispanic; both males and females adult  The consideration of these two groups was based on the existing statistics that portray their poverty level as being worse than other races in the United States. Their social lives including their eating habits are thus highly influenced by their poverty conditions when they were interviewed. The interview was based on nine questions. These questions presented various themes that would later be used to code the interview for data analysis (Given, 2008). The questions included:

Data Analysis

Their responses were first recorded and later transcribed (Seidman, 1998). Data analysis was then done based on the transcribed interview results. In this case, a comparative analysis was done in order to determine the uniqueness or resemblance in the responses provided by the participants. This comparative analysis was done to extract the themes presented in the ten interviews for coding reasons (Seidman, 1998). The themes were then coded according to the way they appeared in each interview.


The study findings were based on the coded data. A total of 27 themes were portrayed in the interview transcriptions. The key themes as they originally existed in the interview questions included policies on obesity, failed policies, best strategies, participating in physical activities, healthy foods, low income people, safe recreation parks, associated diseases. These themes contributed to many other as thematic aspects as depicted in the codebook (table 1).

Similarities/Differences between Interview Results

Almost all the 10 participants depicted a common perspective regarding all the themes brought out during the interview. Although policies that have failed to adequately meet the expectations of health practitioners, policymakers, and the affected American society were considered a contributing reason for the worsening health situation.

It also comes out that most of the respondents believe most of the American people consume foods rich in fat and calories. Minute fiber is an important constituent in foods, but most of the respondents admitted to the fact that they do not consider its importance when buying meals. Such people also fail to participate in physical exercises often. More importantly, the aspect of zoning laws seems to be meaningless in cafeterias and food outlets within poor neighborhoods. In these poor neighborhoods, African-Americans and Hispanic communities are the majority dwellers.

The way forward and Policy implementation

Many respondents felt that the government should lead, catalyze, as well as provide adequate strategic support for the implementation of better health policies by collaborating with both professionals and industry groups. Dietary Guidelines, as well as other educational materials, should also be encouraged to promote nutritional education programs and fitness programs mainly through grants to states (Jacobson & Nestle, 2000). Research on the best ways of preventing and controlling obesity among members of the American society needs to be prioritized, through meaningful support. The obesity issue should not be left to the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) only. Rather, the implementation activities could be distributed among various agencies with the Health sector (Jacobson & Nestle, 2000). There should be no particular agency taking a lead responsibility. Thus, such roles could involve various Centers for Disease Control (CDCs) adopting model school curricula, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developing mass-media campaigns to offer education about food labels and false advertisements, while NIH could sponsor research and workshops and obesity. Some other agencies could also advocate for intensified physical exercises including information regarding its importance in reducing obesity and other related illnesses such as diabetes 2(Jacobson & Nestle, 2000).


Given, L. M. (2008). The Sage encyclopedia of qualitative research methods. Los Angeles,            Calif: Sage Publications.

Hughes, G. (2011). Ability to manage diabetes – community health workers’ knowledge,    attitudes and beliefs. SEMDSA (Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of            SA.

Jacobson, M. F., & Nestle, M. (2000). Obesity-Halting the Obesity Epidemic: A Public Health Policy Approach. Public Health Reports, volume 115, 12-24.

Kettel, K. L., & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (U.S.). (2009). Recommended community strategies and measurements to prevent obesity in the United States. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Levine, J. (2011). Poverty and Obesity in the U.S. American Diabetes Association. Retrieved         from http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/60/11/2667.extract#

Ryder, R. G. (1966). A Clerically Simple Procedure for Coding Interview Materials. American     Psychologist, 21(8), 812-816.

Seidman, I. (1998). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Turner, D. W. (2010). Qualitative Interview Design: A Practical Guide for Novice Investigators. The Qualitative Report, 15(3), 754-760.


Table 1: The Codebook

Descriptive Codes



Subject: Analysis on Obesity, Poverty, and Diabetes 2

Requestor (Instructor):

Proposed Code Description When to Use When to not use
Policies on obesity Policies in place to avoid obesity problems Review of interview document Non-obesity related issues
Policies desirability Whether policy is acceptable Review of interview document Not concerning the society
Strategic support Policy implementation mechanisms Review of interview document Other aspects other than policy implementation
Expectations Expectations from health professionals, and communities Review of interview document Past/previous situations
Dietary Guidelines Descriptive way of promoting knowledge and awareness on healthy diets Review of interview document Other aspects other than policy implementation
High-Calorie foods Part of food ingredient contributing to obesity Review of interview document Aspects other than food ingredients
Participation in exercise Physical activities done by people Review of interview document When not related to physical activities
Zoning laws Zoning policies governing the sale of foods in food outlets Review of interview document When not related to policies
Poor neighborhood The poverty conditions exhibited by people in the community Review of interview document When not referring to Poverty issues
Nutritionally-unbalanced food Lack of food ingredient balance hence contributing to obesity Review of interview document Aspects other than food ingredients
Low income Total earnings within a family or by an individual Review of interview document Not concerning purchase behavior
High-Priced foods The price levels influencing purchase behavior Review of interview document Not concerning purchase behavior
False advertising Marketing mechanisms to influence purchase behavior Review of interview document Not concerning purchase behavior
Poverty issues The poor living conditions and low income among individuals Review of interview document Not concerning levels of incomes or social issues
Obesity-Diabetes 2 relationship The resulting effects of obesity as being diabetes 2 Review of interview document Other than obesity and diabetes 2
High-carbohydrate foods Part of food ingredient contributing to obesity Review of interview document Aspects other than food ingredients
Shopping behaviors The kind of food in terms ingredients contents purchased from food outlets and supermarkets Review of interview document Aspects other than food ingredients
Consumption behavior The kind of food in terms ingredients contents consumed Review of interview document Aspects other than food ingredients
High-fats content Part of food ingredient contributing to obesity Review of interview document Aspects other than food ingredients
Minute fiber Part of food ingredient for health food Review of interview document Aspects other than food ingredients
Health effects The end results such as obesity, diabetes 2, other related diseases Review of interview document When not related to health effect of poor eating behaviors








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