HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - According to the America Health Ranking by the United Health Foundation, rising rates of obesity and physical inactivity threaten America's quality of life.
Every state was ranked, and Mississippi came in last place this year, according to the 25th edition of America's Health Ranking
“Especially in South Mississippi we see a lot of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, a lot of increase in weight recently and so this study just shows that we do actually see these things,” said Physician Melanie Keene Hall.
The 2014 report illustrates Mississippi has its share of strengths and challenges.
Mississippi is excelling in categories such as low prevalence of binge drinking, high immunization among kids, and small disparity in health status by educational attainment.
However, there are several areas in which the state could improve. Mississippians ranked low on having a high prevalence of physical inactivity, low immunization coverage among teens, and a high prevalence of low birth weight.
Local physicians stress the importance of annual checkups to prevent the challenges outlined in the study.
“We can talk with them about diet and exercise and start a treatment plan for some of these problems,” said Keene Hall. “If we find them early and are able to prevent further damage down the road.”
Keene Hill said there are a few things that each family can do to stay on the healthy track. She said to take time to do outdoor activities with your loved ones.
“During the holidays it is definitely easy for us to over eat and to binge eat and eat things that are very unhealthy for us,” Keene Hall said. “I would just encourage patients to stay away from those foods eat as healthy as possible.”