A new report from the Trust for America’s Health entitled “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” showed that Mississippi is tied with West Virginia and Alabama for the second highest obesity rates in the nation at 35.6 percent. The study examined 2014 and 2015 and Louisiana with the highest adult obesity rate of 36.2 percent.
However, health on The University of Southern Mississippi’s campus shows a different percentage. According to a study done in 2013 by the American College Health Association, 18 percent of USM students reported being obese, and another 24.5 percent reported being overweight.
The national average for the same year for adults over 20 years of age was 37.9 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Just a few pounds is stressful for the joints,” said Lisa Wright, a Health Educator at the Moffitt Health Center.
Wright said 2.1 percent of college students ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day and 30 percent of students reported zero days of moderate to intense exercise.
The Trust for America’s Health report said there are multiple ways to help lower obesity rates.
“Providing adequate funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and for the Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion/Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity would increase support to state and local health departments,” the report said.
The report advocated for childhood prevention efforts.
“Supporting better health among young children through healthier meals, physical activity, limiting screen time and connecting families to community services through Head Start; prioritizing early childhood education opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); and implementing the updated nutrition standards covering the Child and Adult Care Food Program,” the report said.
Stanford Health Care website said one of the bigger issues with obesity is the risk of diabetes.
“Healthcare professionals are seeing earlier onset of Type 2 diabetes (normally an adult-onset disease), cardiovascular disease and obesity-related depression in children and adolescents,” said Stanford Health Care. “The longer a person is obese, the more significant obesity-related risk factors become. Given the chronic diseases and conditions associated with obesity, and the fact that obesity is difficult to treat, prevention is extremely important.”
“Today, two- thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children struggle because they are overweight or have obesity,” wrote the Campaign to End Obesity on it’s website. “The effects of the nation’s obesity epidemic are immense: taxpayers, businesses, communities and individuals spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year due to obesity, including nearly $200 billion in medical costs.”
The Fresh Food company has a way of tracking how many calories one consumes and to use the leaf guide to find healthy choices. Wright said that the Payne center as a way for students to get exercise on campus.