Obesity: a consistent silent killer in Mississippi

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Mississippi has the second highest rate of adult obesity in the United States, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health. Many Mississippians suffer from diseases related to obesity, and the rate continues to rise. These chronic diseases include obesity-related cancer, hypertension and coronary heart disease. Numerous factors contribute to the rise of obesity in Mississippi. However, the Mississippi Department of Health is partnering with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) program to address this alarming problem.

From the color we wear to the type of music we blast from our car speakers, we make choices daily. Life is full of choices. Ultimately, it is up to us to decide what is most beneficial. Some choices are bigger than others, and some choices have long-term effects.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health obesity action plan, in 2016, 24.8 percent of Mississippians died from heart disease, 5.3 percent of Mississippians died from a stroke and 3.4 percent died from diabetes. The cost of obesity is way too high.

The rate of obesity will continue to rise in the next 20 years, according to the Mississippi Department of Health. At the center of this issue is the debate about who is responsible. Some blame the convenience of fast food restaurants for the rising obesity epidemic. Others blame the individual. The southern part of the United States is most affected by obesity, especially the state of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Department of Health is currently making efforts through the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) program to decrease the rising rates of obesity as well as to prevent obesity in the state.

The program plans to prevent obesity in the state through healthy nutrition and increased activity levels. DNPAO is also partnering with the Office of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Blue Cross Blue Shield State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan to further implement this plan. Funding will be increased for public awareness campaigns that encourage physical activity and healthy options.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health Obesity Action Plan 2018, DNPAO will make healthier foods and beverages easier to access, which includes farmer’s markets and community gardens. The Mississippi Department of Health will also target schools to prevent obesity. Funds will be provided to schools across the state to create healthy nutritional options for schools and an environment that promotes more physical activity, such as walking or biking to school.

Through this plan, Mississippi hopes to raise awareness and to encourage better lifestyle choices to lengthen the lives of their citizens.