Mississippi Ranked Most Unhealthy StateBy Paul Boger | Published 12 Dec 2013 08:30am |
High rates of obesity and diabetes continue to make Mississippi the unhealthiest state in the country. MPB’s Paul Boger reports even with the poor diagnosis health officials remain hopeful the state can recover.
The United Health Foundation has released an annual report analyzing the overall health of Americans by state, and this year Mississippi came in last.
Dr. Reed Tuckson is one of the authors of the report. He says Mississippians should be concerned about three important issues.
You can sort of see this relationship with poor physical activity, obesity and diabetes." said Dr. Tuckson. "These are all related to each other, and it means if we don't get a good handle on that there will be many, many more people with heart disease, cancer and there will be much more premature death."
According to the report, more than 770,000 Mississippians are obese, and nearly 12-and-a-half percent of residents have been diagnosed with diabetes. When you combine that the state's high infant mortality rate and large number of smokers, state health officials say it's not surprising Mississippi ranked so low. Dr. Mary Currier is the state health officer.
"We have the lowest income in the country." said Dr. Currier. "We have very poor educational achievements among our population. We have a lot of people in this state that are destitute, and it's very difficult to be healthy at the same time you're trying to figure out how to pay the light bill."
Despite the report's negative outlook on the state's health, Dr. Currier remains optimistic.
"Our immunization rate is usually pretty good." said Dr. Currier. "Our smoking rate decreased. We're not close to the national average, but it did decrease; that's a good thing. There are some other things that are not in the report that have improved. Our adolescent obesity rates have improved. Our adult obesity rate for 2012, we're not number one in obesity; we are number two. So, there are some things that are improving."
Last year, Mississippi was tied with Louisiana as the 49th least healthy state.
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