An Analysis of Adult Obesity and Hypertension in Appalachia

  •  Saman Herath Bandara    
  •  Cheryl Brown    


Obesity is a major health problem in the United States, and the burden associated is high. Hypertension seems to be the most common obesity-related health problem. Studies show that hypertension is approximately twice as prevalent among the obese as in the non-obese population. This study has two main objectives. First, to examine the association between obesity and hypertension within the context of economic growth in Appalachia, and second to estimate the cost of hypertension linked to obesity in Appalachia. The study uses simultaneous equations and Logit analysis for estimations. Data are from Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Systems (BRFSS) surveys of 2001 and 2009. Results for simultaneous analysis show that hypertension decreases with decreasing obesity, increasing employment growth, and increasing income. Logit analysis highlights the importance of controlling obesity, income growth, employment growth, education, and exercises in mitigating hypertension in Appalachia. Ageing indicates a high potential of getting hypertension. Total economic cost of hypertension linked to obesity is $9.35 billion, significantly a high cost to Appalachia. Overall, results reveal the impacts of obesity on hypertension and some possible ways of mitigation. Thus, results suggest a comprehensive set of policies to Appalachia which sufficiently improve employment opportunities, educational facilities, and healthcare facilities with adequately addressed to obesity and hypertension.

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