September 26, 2012
Obesity is the leading health concern in the state of Mississippi today for children and adults. It is on the rise and contributes to major chronic disease killers such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. According to USA Today, Mississippi has the highest obesity rate with 34.9% of state residents who are roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight, and Colorado has the lowest rate at 20.7%, new government data show. (Hellmich, 2012)
We have all heard of Paula Deen, the great southern chef from Albany, Georgia. Paula Deen is known for her showy personality and southern cooking ways with loads of butter and tons of bacon. This type of cooking is often displayed in millions of homes in Mississippi. Sunday dinners often include foods like fried chicken, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, buttered corn bread and sweet tea to name a few. Eating meals like these, not only on Sundays, often lead to diabetes, heart disease and sometimes death. According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011, 34.9 percent of adults in the state were obese (Ogden, Carrol,Kit and Flegal, 2012). Mississippi is expected to continue to hold the title as the fattest state in the U.S. In Jackson, MS, state leaders are striving to create programs to make people exercise more and eat healthier by going into the school cafeterias and reconstructing the menus that include healthy choices. They also instructed vendors to put healthier choices in vending machines in state buildings and schools. In addition, Mississippi has received funding to address obesity and promote healthy behavior in children and teens through the National Governors Association called Preventing Obesity With Every Resource (POWER). A question that we may ask is how can we reduce the obesity rate in Mississippi? We can do things like first find...