Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mississippi tops U.S. obesity rankings

The state of Mississippi tops U.S. obesity rankings according to CNN. In fact, it's held this title for the 5th year in a row - for both adults and children. 32.5% are obese in Mississippi. In addition, 44.4 percent of Mississippi children ages 10 to 17 are classified as overweight or obese, the study found. This is a serious public health problem and the state of Mississippi desperately needs help to control this obesity epidemic. Unfortunately, Southern style cooking is often rooted in deep fried foods, so it's going to be very difficult to change cooking patterns that are deeply ingrained in Southern culture. Obesity is linked to a variety of health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Many people who are obese really struggle to lose weight and keep it off. So what's the solution? Bariatric surgery?

This is where preventive medicine needs to take a very active role. Educational efforts alone are not enough. Interventions must begin in the classroom as children learn and develop lifestyle habits. Unless things change at a fundamental level, the problem will only continue to get worse. Perhaps the government needs to channel some money into structured weight loss programs. People living below the poverty line probably can't afford to pay for Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. They also can't afford expensive gym memberships. They are often eating unhealthy foods and they often lack access to exercise facilities. To read the entire CNN story, click here.


  1. "If we can help somebody control obesity, they are less likely to get diabetes. And if they are less likely to get diabetes that means that we are going to be saving a whole lot of money on hospital costs," said Obama. According to, eventually the weight epidemic will weigh the US down. On the same site, people believe we can't continue to be a world power as long as we're this unhealthy.

  2. With this increase in obesity in each state over ten percent in the last two decades, is the focus on exercise and low calorie foods enough? This is no longer a question of personal responsibility and prevention- if it were, people would find the willpower to lose weight, knowing the health risks of obesity. The popularity of southern fried food has not changed and yet people are increasingly obese- why? Instead of placing blame on fatty foods, let’s solve the food problem. With studies showing an alarming amount of missing nutrients from foods once rich with them, we should be giving a closer eye to what is in our foods- and what is missing.
    In addition, the link of poverty to the availability of nutritious foods has always been a tremendous problem, heightened by the economic recession. As long as the distribution of food is regulated by capitalist means, the poor will never have access to nutritious foods, which will in turn increase the necessity for health care they cannot afford.
    People have always known the preventative measures of obesity, so while education in that area is important, it will not eliminate this problem. Without knowing what is in our food, how can we truly know what is healthy and what is not? And without access to nutritious foods, how can we allow the poor the “luxury” of eating well? It is time to be as scrutinizing to the food we consume as we are to the people that consume it.