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Mississippi Health Program Appears Successful In One Of The Worse Public Health Areas In The Country

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 10 Jun 2014 08:48pm | comments
Tiffany Grant
A health initiative aimed at black women in Madison and Holmes Counties appears to be having success improving the health of the women and their families. However, as MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports, the effort has a long way to go considering life expectancy in those counties is among the lowest in the country.
A group of about 50 black women cheer on the success of their friends who managed to lose weight and improve their health through the Healthy Families Movement Program at the Mallory Community Health Center in Canton.
April Love is one of the women.
She says she lost 12 pounds in the last three months but also learned valuable new information about healthy eating.
"It is not just for the three month period. I think it goes on for after the three months. It is just and entire lifestyle change. And that I what I am excited about," Love said.
The average weight loss for the women is 8 pounds, which is just the beginning for an area where women's life expectancy is behind countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Peru.
The program's coordinator Tiffany Grant says she does not feel like she is losing the battle against obesity and heart disease.
"I don't feel like we are losing the battle. Just continuously going out there and working with communities and working with families we will continue to work on it. It may take a little while for those outcomes to be shown, but we are not losing the battle. We are going to keep fighting," Grant said.
The drug company AstraZeneca has pour 600-thousand dollars into the program over the last to target low-income African-American women.
The thinking behind that strategy is that these women do most of the cooking and shopping that the good habits will rub off on whole families.
That's the sentiment reflected by Rosie Grant who has a husband and three kids.
"As far as their eating habits, because I eat healthier and I am the provider for cooking, they either eat healthier or you don't eat now," Grant said.
The program will have to re-apply for their grant so it is not clear if it will continue.


Tiffany Grant



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