On May 19, 2014, I got an email from University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering & Applied Sciences Graduate Admissions Office, of a $391 increase in my 2014-2015 tuition and fees. Out of the total increased fees amount, over $200 was due to an increase in my health insurance premium. This came less as a surprise and more as a reason for me to take actions towards both, my personal finances so as to keep myself covered for the forthcoming school year, and also dig deep into the healthcare system in the US.
I exercise and work out my body every day. I cook and eat healthy, and at all costs, avoid junk food (burger, fries, and soda). Then why do I have to suffer this hike in my premium?
At first, $200 didn’t seem that big of a figure but it soon occurred to me that this amounted to almost 3 months of living expenses for my parents back at home in India.
I pulled up my research socks and dug into hundreds of peer reviewed journals on the subject: ‘Causes for the rising medical care costs in the United States’.
Obesity – the number one cause for the increasing healthcare costs in the US.
I knew I had to take actions – for the love of my parents and to make my dreams come true.
And thus, ‘A Drive to Inspire’ was born.
‘A Drive to Inspire’ is a public awareness campaign regarding the global obesity epidemic.
The first campaign took place in the United States from Aug 1-24, 2014.
To make this campaign happen, I had planned to accomplish 3 things:
1. Drive across the lower 48 United States in 24 Days.
2. Do a set of 50 consecutive pushups in each State
3. Raise charity for Groceryships and share the story of my personal battle with obesity with the locals I’d meet along the way.
US’ OBESITY EPIDEMIC
Over the last three decades, the United States of America has been in a continuous and fierce battle against the obesity epidemic [1, 2, 3]. Today, one in five children older than 5 years, and more than one- third of the American adult population are obese [4, 5]. And if the current trends continue, by 2030, half of all Americans will be obese with projected diagnosed diabetes cases to increase by 165%, from 11 million in 2000 to 29 million in 2050 [6, 7]. By 2030, the total health-care costs attributable to obesity/overweight would also double every decade to 860.7-956.9 billion US dollars, accounting for 16-18% of total health-care costs .
The global epidemic of obesity has become a serious public health crisis in the United States and it significantly shapes US mortality levels, placing it at the forefront of concern for public health action [8, 9].
And none of these are my assumptions, but based on conclusions drawn from the years of research done by experts in their field. (References)