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Research Assistants

The Medicalization of Health and Health Behaviors

A new project of mine is to examine the recent trends in the 'medicalization' of health and health habits. The overall goals are to identify a key set of policies and treatments that 'medicalize' health when there is no or little gain to such a framework; then to analyze the pros and cons; and finally, to provide suggestions of where to draw the line, what to do instead. How to manage health issues and health habits that are being medicalized will use a literature review, policy analyses, economics, and behavioral economics.

One example of the medicalization of health is the new policy idea of the Biden administration, and others, to provide a doctor’s prescription for healthy food; several problems with this include: this adds an extra of complication for obtaining food, and may add extra societal expense and steps for the consumers, it is not a universal answer as not all people go to see a doctor, it could add additional societal expenses to the extent that health insurance is involved, and it medicalizes a very standard behavior that should be learned, could be taught. There are many other food policies that would help to overcome food and nutrition inadequacies more efficiently and effectively. Other examples have been identified and more will be found through a literature review and discussions with experts (possibly a brief survey of experts).

A related request would be for help on a paper on obesity in children in Mexico, if the student is interested.

Requisite Skills and Qualifications:

Qualifications include: knowledge of microeconomics and some behavioral econ (if possible); ability to find pressing topics online, in literature and popular press; some policy analyses abilities and editing for soundness of arguments. Ability to discuss policy and economic analyses to move the project forward. Possible help with small online survey.