Exercising can already be a huge hassle itself. Now the government is sticking its nose into whether Latino men specifically are breaking a sweat.
The University of California, San Diego, study, initiated by the National Institutes of Health, doesn't come cheap either. It's costing taxpayers more than $400,000.
At the behest of the NIH, UC San Diego is studying the effectiveness of using text messages to encourage Latino men to exercise. At a hefty price tag of $406,875, the health project is being considered a “low-cost” research strategy.
According to the grant of the project, “Mexican-American men report high rates of inactivity and related health conditions. The proposed study seeks to promote physical activity among this at-risk, understudied population by developing interactive and tailored text-messages to enhance a print-based physical activity intervention for Spanish-speaking MA men. The proposed high reach, low cost strategy for increasing physical activity has great potential for adoption on a larger scale and thereby positively impacting public health and eliminating health disparities.”
A preliminary study using a “culturally and linguistically tailored” print campaign set the model for an intervention-based method, like sending exercise reminders through text messages.
The grant also highlights the restricted access to public health interventions promoting exercise for Hispanic men: “Mexican-American (MA) men report particularly low rates of physical activity (PA) and are disproportionately burdened by conditions related to sedentary lifestyle (e.g., diabetes, obesity). Due to cultural, SES, educational, and language differences, MA men may have limited access to public health interventions promoting PA. To address these rising health disparities, effective interventions that leverage state-of-the-art technology, theory, and methods are needed for MA men.”
The common citizen is ultimately footing the bill for this new health project. Although Latino men might be at risk from obesity and other health problems, such a high cost for an initiative that has not even made it out of the trial stage seems impractical.
Although $400,000 might seem “low-cost” as compared to other health initiatives, what will happen when it is engaged on a larger scale? Plus, is it really the job of the government to interfere in people’s lives to this extent?
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