HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - At Southern Miss Wednesday, the focus was on improving the state's health. Mississippi often finds itself at or near the top nationally of negative lists for things like infant mortality, obesity and cancer death rates.
To help curb those things, the fifth annual Public Health Symposium at the university's Thad Cochran Center brought together experts in a variety of health related fields to educate students and professionals about the state of Mississippi's health.
State Health Officer Mary Currier was a guest speaker who said many of the problems facing Mississippi are related to poverty and a culture that celebrates food that isn't necessarily good for you.
Currier said, "Here where even your vegetable plate is cooked in bacon fat, so changing that culture is very difficult. Plus it tastes great you know, and who wants to have a fish bake - you want a fish fry. We are in the fried food belt but we are also in the stroke belt and the heart attack belt."
To improve Mississippi's health, Currier said they are working with Magnolia State mayors and healthcare providers to assist with policies and prevention programs.