HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi is known for leading the nation in adult and childhood obesity consistently, but food is not the only contributing factor as to why the majority of the state is overweight.
According to Benjamin Burkett, a general practitioner at Wesley Medical Center, there is no one solution for Obesity in our state. However, Burkett said making basic lifestyle changes could be a good place to start.
"One is, make a conscious decision everyday to eat better and if you have a child to provide them with a good quality well rounded meal,"said Burkett. "Second thing would be is, I think it would be a good idea to make sure we are active. Find time to exercise, find time to be active, and find somebody to actually be accountable to."
Burkett said this may be easier said than done because Mississippi is a rural state.
"There are areas in the state where a fast food chain or a quick mart would be closer than a major grocery store. You know, most of those places they don't really carry healthier items most of the time," said Burkett."If you don't have a lot of money and you are trying to find something to eat and you are hungry you say, 'Hey I think that burger looks a lot better than that apple over there so I am gonna have the burger because it is gonna fill me up better.'"
According to Burkett, changing these behaviors may be hard, but are not impossible. Burkett also said making smarter choices can help residents avoid a list of health issues associated with being overweight.
"Being obese can actually put you at risk for a lot of problems, high blood pressure definitely puts you up towards the top of the list, problems with your cholesterol, problems at putting you at risk for having a heart attack," said Burkett." All of those things can put you at risk of not living a long, healthy life."