According to the State of Obesity website, Mississippi broke a two-year streak of being the most obese state in America. Mississippi has moved down the rankings to land at the position of third most obese state.
After several years of being ranked on the top of the obesity charts, numerous questions have surfaced as to what Mississippians are doing to improve their health. The answer to this question is quite simple: it is not in the sense that Mississippians are improving, but the fact that America’s health is getting worse.
“It’s great it hasn’t gone up,” said State Health Officer Mary Currier. “But the only reason is other states got worse, not because we got better.”
The most updated obesity charts present the top three states rapidly increasing from the previous year, showing no improvement whatsoever. According to the chart, Mississippi did not increase or decrease, which proves that the extra weight Mississippians are carrying has become the actual norm.
De’Jonelle Gleeton, a junior dance major, expressed her passion for living a healthy, happy lifestyle.
“By studying dance and anatomy, I have become more aware of my body and the things I intake on a daily basis,” Gleeton said. “Over the past few years, I have become more cautious of what is okay and not okay to add into my diet and more people need to have realization of this. “
She added that most people become too comfortable in their current lifestyle and resist change.
Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi now exceed 35 percent in the rates of obesity. Twenty- two states have rates above 30 percent, 45 states are above 25 percent and every state is above 20 percent. Arkansas has the highest adult obesity rate at 35.9 percent, while Colorado has the lowest at 21.3 percent.
Mississippi also ranks third in the nation for the health problems linked directly to obesity–diabetes and hypertension.
Health care professionals from the Mississippi Department of Health have said that Mississippi must move from disease treatment to disease prevention, pointing out that high obesity rates cost the nation billions of dollars in battling obesity-related diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and arthritis.
Katy Zeruing, a senior nutrition and dietetics major, expressed how Mississippi is affecting the nation’s health and image.
“Instead of taking this news as a victory lap, Mississippi needs to realize the importance in maintaining a healthier lifestyle. Not only are we affecting our personal self, but the children of tomorrow, and America today.” – Zeruig
She also explained that adding a daily exercise routine and counting calories can make a big difference.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of all Americans live with a preventable chronic disease, and many such diseases are related to obesity, poor nutrition and physical inactivity. Adult obesity in Mississippi has increased dramatically over the past 15 years and is expected to increase significantly in the next 20 years.
This growing epidemic has important consequences for our nation’s health and economy. Obesity increases several risk factors, and by making a difference today, we can change the world tomorrow.