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Mississippians Living Shortest Lives

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 16 Jun 2011 04:16pm | comments
A graphic representation of average life spans for women.

Mississippians have some of the shortest life expectancies in the United States....that's according to a new study of Government Mortality data. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that one Mississippi County has the lowest life expectancy in the Country.

The statistics show that people in 80-percent of American Counties are living shorter lives compared to the rest of the world but the problem is especially bad in Mississippi...the average Mississippian will live about 5 fewer years than the average American.

Researcher Ali Mokdad says poverty and preventable health problems are contributing to shorter lives.

"When you look at Mississippi, the rates of obesity are the highest. Unfortunately for Mississippi, they have high rates of smoking. And unfortunately for people living in Mississippi these risk factors are affecting their life. They are more likely to affect their quality of life. And our study is documenting that it is affecting the number of years that they will live," Mokdad said.

The life expectancy for women in five Mississippi counties is less than 75 years which is behind Countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Peru.

Holmes County had the lowest life expectancy of any county in the country....66 years for men, which is 15 fewer years than the healthiest county in the country.

Tammy Courts, a nurse at the Holmes County Health Department, says the majority of her patients are overweight or obese.

Courts says she educates her patients about weight loss but that only goes so far.

"A lot of people say 'I know, I know, I know'. You can tell somebody all day what to eat but until you get something in there, maybe something to help them lose weight to start with. I think that would really help, put them in a weight loss program. But I think it has got to start somewhere because it is really hard for these patients to lose weight. Nobody wants to be obese," Courts said.


Life expectancy for African-American Mississippians faired even worse....the average black male in Mississippi will live eight fewer years then the average American.

Study researchers recommend reducing preventable diseases, increasing physical exercise and healthy food options to help Mississippians live longer.





A graphic representation of average life spans for women.



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