The Effect of Poverty on Childhood Obesity
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Over the last decade, childhood obesity in the United States has increased almost threefold as the national poverty rate has remained relatively constant. While governmental aid programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have sought to support impoverished families by providing funds which can be spent at grocery stores, these programs are ineffective in preventing childhood obesity. This study will attempt to explain the relationship between poverty and obesity across the 50 U.S. states and District of Columbia by constructing several regression models. In addition to the primary explanatory variable, poverty, other control variables included in this model will be median household income, welfare recipients per capita, healthcare expenditure per capita, unemployment rate, rate of food insecurity, and education level. Because nutritious food tends to be more expensive, low-income households may resort to cheaper, yet unhealthier food options. For this reason, childhood obesity and poverty are hypothesized to have a positive relationship.