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.