Obesity: Mississippi's Epidemic

photo by: mzacha sxc.hu
photo by: mzacha sxc.hu

We all know the South is famous for is food. But did you know it was becoming famous for something else? The south is fat and getting fatter. In Mississippi it has grown into an epidemic. For the past five years Mississippi has held the title with 32.5% of the population of the state considered obese. The rate has increased every year. Also 44.4% of the children in Mississippi aged 10 to 17 are overweight. That's almost half of the children in Mississippi.

There are numerous health risks associated with being overweight. These include and are not limited to, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and malnourishment. I added malnourishment because people who over-eat typically eat high sugar, high fat nutritionally sparse foods like fast food which can lead to anemia, vitamin deficiencies, and high cholesterol.


WHAT IS OBESITY?

Obesity is determined by using height and weight to calculate a number called the "body mass index" (BMI). A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI 30 and above is considered obese. I will use my BMI as an example. I am 5'3" and wiegh 130lbs. My BMI:23, 18.5-24.9 is considered normal weight status. Below 18.5 is considered underweight. This the most used calculation to measure weight and height ratios. You can find a BMI calculator easily by just typing BMI in your word search engine.

Obesity contributes highly to the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. Who or what is to blame for this? There are several factors that contribute to the growing problem.

Photo by: mzacha sxc.hu
Photo by: mzacha sxc.hu

SOCIO ECONOMIC STATUS

When you go to the grocery store and compare prices have you ever noticed it's cheaper to buy a bag of potato chips than it is to buy a couple of pounds of fresh produce? Next time you go to the grocery store check this out.

People buy more of what will go farther for their dollar. Some folks are already ill from the effects of improper nutrition and maintaining a proper weight that they need all sorts of medicines to counteract these health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. These folks can't afford fresh produce so they are buy processed foods that are cheaper with less nutritional value and high fat and sugar (not to mention preservatives). It's just a vicious circle.

Fast foods are easier and cheaper than buying groceries and making a meal. I have to hand it to the fast food industry though they are trying to offer healthier alternatives on their menu. Although I find the quality is a bit lacking. The schools are offering more nutritious lunches. My child's school does not allow parents to bring fast food to the kids a lunch time.

My Question is why and when did processed junk food become cheaper than the healthy foods?

LACK OF EXERCISE

Lack of exercise is a big problem. Walking just 30 to 40 minutes a day at a good pace (enough to get your heart rate up) will help maintain a healthy weight. Children are the biggest concern here. Sitting in front of a television or video game for hours id not checked. Children are simply not getting enough cardiovascular exercise.

Children need the same amount or more of exercise that adults need for their cardiovascular health. To burn excess calories and support the muscular and bone development. This means at least 30 to 490 minutes of exercise that raises the heart rate daily.

OVER FILLING THE TANK

Eating more calories than needed is a big problem. There are hidden caloies in many foods, especially junk foods. Many people aren't aware that a candy bar has about 250 calories and a bottle of soda has about the same. A candy bar and a coke for a snack is probably over 500 calories. The equivalent to the calorie content of a dozen small apples.

Read the labels on the food you buy. They will tell you calories per serving as well as fat content. It's a good idea to know roughly the amount of calories in the food that your are eating. Teach your children to read food labels too. Not only will they be practicing their reading skills but learning a lesson in nutrition too.

Photo by:  ikbenasha sxc.hu
Photo by: ikbenasha sxc.hu

IS THERE A SOLUTION?

Education and making healthy food choices easier to afford is a start. The governor had a campaign called "let's go walkin' Mississippi". I am not sure what happened to that campaign. I haven't seen or heard any more promotion. It was apparently geared to get Mississippians out and active. Mississippi still made the the top of the list. Let me remind you that these statistics only cover the obese adults in the study. There are countless others considered overweight.

Remember to read food labels and get active. Reduce your calorie intake and make healther food choices. Always consult a physician before embarking on an exercise and diet regime.

Copyright © 2010 Tammy Lochmann

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Comments 66 comments

ralwus 6 years ago

Yes, a very unfortunate problem for everyone. Glad you have pointed this out. they need to get the kids involved in physical activities like JFK did for us. Maybe they should pass out bikes to all the children with all the safety gear and let them join Micky Dee on his biking runs.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

ralwus...Ha ha, That is a terrific idea. I should run that by Mickey Dee...if you see him first let him know. It's so great to see you! You must be feeling better. Thank you for reading and taking the time to make a comment.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

I didn't know that Mississippi held the US title for obesity. Here in the UK it is Scotland that rules for overweight/smoking/poor health. This is partly due to poverty, but also ingrained habits passed down from one generation to the other.

There has been a public health campaign there about diet and fitness but things will probably take a long time to change.

I guess that in Mississippi the climate is another issue - it must be difficult to want to exercise in the summer.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hi 2patricias... The summer is really only unbearable 2 months of the year. We have air conditioning so there is no reason for people to not go to the gym, pop in an exercise video or hit the treadmill. Besides I can go running at night (with a partner of course) when it is cooler.

Interesting that there is a problem in the UK (Scotland) with obesity. There is starting to be a problem with it in Canada (where I am originally from) too. Lots of kids exercising their thumbs with the video games and not going outside to play or ride bikes like we used to do as kids. As I recall, staying in the house was so boring

Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I am always happy to see you.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Maybe parents will have to demand more physical education time in the schools, for running games and so on. As I see it, most parents don't feel it is safe to let their children outside to play. Sad but true. Kids stay in with the TV or computer because they're safe there. I can't criticize that.


Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Great hub, Tammy, I know more and more schools are making it a point to educate kids about healthy eating habits and physical activity. Education is key, some schools that I have read about actually have green houses and teach the kids about gardening etc.

I haven't had potato chips in sometime and dam they look so good! You need to put some onion dip next to that bowl.

Only kidding!

Great job once again,

Sage


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

shiela b...So right parent involvement is the key here. No one says to send your kids out on their own...Why can't parents be out there with their kids if they don't feel safe sending them outside to play? The kids are learning some of their habits from their parents. What president or governor was that who had the campaign to put more emphasis on physical education in the schools? My kid gets one hour a week in the gym at school and they don't go outside when it is raining for recess.

We do need to demand more physical activities in the school. There are plenty of free group physical activities that kids can be part of and to name a few scouting, school sports.

Thanks for joining in this discussion. Nice to see you.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Sage...LOL I know I had to settle for some toast to get that off my mind blahh...Education is the key, not just the kids but the parents need to be educated too. I know too many people who don't associate calories with food. They think that if it's just a small like a piece of chocolate or candy that it's okay when it's really laden with fat, sugar and calories.

Thanks so much for adding your opinion to this discussion. It's always so nice to see you!


resspenser profile image

resspenser 6 years ago from South Carolina

Probably should have read this before I had the two grape jelly sandwiches and glass of cold milk for lunch.

Oops!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

resspenser...LOL better go for a walk!


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Yes--I think Mickydee should get all them pudgy kids on bikes and take them on a 249 mile road trip--maybe they can go to the Mickydee health club because he eats very good and keeps in great shape--he would make lots of money having a 'pudgykidfarmclub.'

Good hub--amazing that parents allow this--but then again-look at how unhealthy their parents are. I say this as I drag off my smoke-Mickydee would slap it right out of my mouth..ha ah haha....ohhhh so would you..you are a nurse! lol

Good hub ROCKSTAR!!


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

My dearest Tam...

Excellent hub here! Not only improper nutrition, obesity and bowel related ailments, but also the dangerous bad cholesterol that can provoke an unexpected heart attack or a change in blood pressure. It is sad though. Some people just have no means to buy quality food.

Thumbs up!

warmest regards and plenty of healthy blessings,

Al


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Ghost...I recently quit smoking after over 20 years so I can't give you a lecture. LOL...Thanks for stopping by WARRIOR PRINCESS...lotsa love to you!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

HI Al...yes therein lies the problem processed unhealthy foods are cheaper and easier to prepare for a lot of money strapped and busy families. There are a lot of other things that relate to this problem that I won't go into, at least not right now. Which reminds me I need to be out exercising myself but it's about to storm here.

I love your new avatar pic. Thanks for stopping by, I am always happy to see you.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

This is a great hub. We can't afford to eat cheap food that isn't good for us.

I wouldn't slap that smoke out of GW's mouth. I might pat her shoulder and say, "you know, we all quit smoking, sometime."

Thanks for a great hub Tammy. Great advice, great insight.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Micky...LOL did it surprise you to see you were talked about? Guess we all think highly about you. Thanks for stopping by and for your praise.


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

Tammy

I have to say when I visited the US I did notice a huge number of obese people,including kids.It's difficult for kids to have the energy to do anything active ,when they are fed so much processed food!

I read recently that 80% or thereabouts of food in the US is processed-it is a problem!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Ita...look for this video "Food, Inc" you may be able to view it on your PC...big eye opener about GMO's and processed foods. The problem is never going away because people don't care where their food is coming from. Sad really.

Nice to see you my friend. Thanks for the visit.


Tubbs Merouge profile image

Tubbs Merouge 6 years ago from Louisiana

Hi Tammy!! Hey come on over here to Louisiana and eat this cajun food for awhile! The belly will grow right before your eyes!! LOL!! Gumbo, gumbo and more gumbo!!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Tubbs...LOL I am heading your way on Monday (seriously)...Gotta get me some o dat dere gumbo and listen to da music....Maybe catch a river boat ride...LOL Thanks for stopping in and making me laugh.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

nice advices and reasons for obesity are well laid out. Yes youre correct about socio economic status! Does it mean the poorer people are the more they have umamanaged weight because of price of food, poor ones...true, and I agree with you, good job Tam, Maita


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Maita...Thank you and yes it is true that low socioecomonic status can result in obesity. Next time you go to the grocery check it out...It is cheaper to feed a family with processed foods than it is to feed them fresh fruits and vegetables.

Thanks for stopping by, I always look forward to you visits.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

Great hub Tammy, I'm a southerner and I know how WE cook, but you're so correct that obesity has gotten out of hand. It irks me that all the healthier foods are so expensive, and families with children can ill afford this type of fare. But I believe that staying out of the fast food lines will help many, even their healthy menus are full of sodium and sugars. This is a problem throughout the US, but I bet more southern states due to the cooking practices, past down through generations. Thanks for the info, I'm going to find my BMI right now. Have a wonderful evening.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

pmccray...Thanks for stopping in and for your great comment. I need to look at my BMI too. Take care and it is great to see you!


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

Since I live here also, I know exactly what you are speaking about. Parents are not always examples for the children and yes McDonald's is cheaper...the double cheesebuger....I am in hopes that the First Lady will key in on these issues all over the US. Very informative and exact. Thanks


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

lctodd1947...Hi neighbor! You can't argue with statistics can you. I hope that some change happens. Kids can't be responsible for their eating habits their parents need to step up.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Smart sensible hub. We really need to turn this awful trend around.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

breakfastpop...Thanks for stopping in...It really is a shame...The only thing we can do is make sure our own kids are a healthy weight though. How was Florida?


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

I still remember farmers eating a lot of tasty foods and being healthy and thin anyway. And this is obvious since they worked all day and they were always active. These days people take the car to move 500m away. Overfilling the tank together with lack of exercise are definitely the main reason for being overweight.

Clean, concise dissertation, rated up and stumbled. :)


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi Tam, nice new avatar. I am 19 in my BMI, Tam, flat 100 lbs, I am sharing that one, hehe I just came to drop by here, Maita


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

hypnodude...Thank you for taking the time to come and read and for sharing. I remember how nice it was to go to the farmers markets in Canada for fresh organic produce. It is really hard to come by here. It really needs to change.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Maita...Did you use the BMI tool? Thanks for dropping by!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

Super informative Hub, Tammy -- as a diabetic I watch my diet -- and can still gain a couple of pounds very easily so it's a daily thing. I'm amazed at all the chubby kids I'm seeing -- can't be a good sign. Best, Sis


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Sis...you look terrific...sad about the kids yes...it's too easy to feed kids what they want not what they need these days...Thanks for stopping by i always look forward to seeing you!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

I came by for another look and you and GW were so nice.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Micky Dee...:-D


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

Well I don't know how I missed this one, but glad I found it now. What an alarming statistic, especially for the kids. You are so right though, given the choice and if money is tight, people will go for quantity over quality. I had no idea Mississippi ranked so high though. Thanks for an informative hub with great suggestions.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Jen...Thank for reading and the comment. It really is a problem in Mississippi. Hope you're having a good day. It's always nice to see you!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Kids don't play outside like we did - they're glued to video pames. Plus, it's dangerous now to let them too far out of our sight now. Thumbs up!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Holle...Thanks for dropping in, It's great to see you! I still don't see why parents can't go out and play with their kids...I know how busy we all are but we could be getting exercise too while we're out riding bikes, playing tag, tossing a ball....just a thought.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I've been meaning to come over here to read this, Tammy. I had no idea that Mississippi is an overweight state! And I thought people in my state were overweight! To answer your question about why fast food chains sell foods that are cheaper than healthy food (organic food IS expensive, by the way. I should know, I stocked it in college), McDonald's, etc. get very low-quality foods for dirt cheap, so they can sell it cheaply. Much of OUR food isn't even accepted by most foreign countries. For instance, South Korea only recently rejected tons of American beef as it was sub-standard! I think the meat was used to make pet food (yuck). Awesome hub with great tips. I learned how to figure out my BMI here. Thanks again.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

True, Tammy. Unfortunately, most parents today let the TV or video games babysit their kids!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Dohn...If you want to know more about how the food is processed here and about GMO's find the video "Food Inc." a real eye opener. Organic food is expensive I agree...What it all comes down to is most American consumers don't care where their food comes from.

Thanks for your wonderful insights. I am always glad to see you.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Holle...Sad but true.


TattoGuy 6 years ago

I love yer hubs, I loves you, why aren't you living in Belfast x


rls8994 profile image

rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

I too live in Mississippi and see so many overweight kids. This leads to so many health problems. It's really sad. When I was a child, we played outside all day. We usually stayed outside until my Mother would call us to eat and it was getting dark. This was fun to us. Now, sitting in front of a tv, computer or playing a game is more appealing to most. Great Hub!


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

TattoGuy...Ahhhh I can't imagine what would happen if someone locked you down...There would be many disappointed babes in Hubberland...hugs to you my friend...such sweet words xo


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

ris8994...Hello nice to meet you. I agree we played outside all day too...a lot of times we would be dragged in kicking an screaming. We didn't have video games that you didn't have to pay for in an arcade either.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to make a comment.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

Obesity is the country's epidemic!

Sad............. most of the kids just don't know how to play anymore.......... and they certainly aren't getting exercise.............. Wait! There is Wii........ let's buy them all a few more video games so they can stay in just a little longer. Do you think that fresh air, or lack of, is part of the cause?

Kaie


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Kaie...I definitely think that lack of fresh air is part of the cause...I agree that it's an epidemic for the entire country but Mississippi leads according to statistics. I hate Wii LOL. Parents need to be much more involved and get out there with their kids especially if they think it's not safe to send their kids outdoors they need to go with them...I do.

Thanks for taking the time to read and make a comment. It's always great to see you.


Teresa Laurente profile image

Teresa Laurente 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

You as a health professional knows better. I agree with you in following a healthy diet. After all this is for our own sake; for long, happy, healthy life. Thanks for sharing this piece.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hi Teresa...Nice to meet you...Thanks for taking the time to read and make a comment...Diet and maintaining a healthy weight is very important to me...I am off to see your site.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi Tam, morning, waiting for your Next Abby! I emailed you something, Thank you always! Maita


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hi Maita...I am working on Abby right now as we speak. I got your email. Thanks for stopping by.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

Wow did not know that about the south. That is interesting.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

JannyC..yep and it isn't getting better it is getting worse every year. Thanks for your comment.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

REally good hub. I've noticed that, the further south you go, the people get a little heavier. But almost a third of the people to be obese! It IS a problem. Walking is great--I love to walk in the summertime.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Thanks Paradise I really appreciate your appraisal. It's wonderful to hear from such a gifted writer as yourself. I like all different types of exercise. I have packed on a few pounds that I need to get rid of. Thanks for stopping by it's wonderful to see you!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

It's one of the saddest aspects of our society today that people are getting bigger and bigger, and there seems no end in sight to it. I think in the case of a lot of people just don't give a damn. Maybe deep down they do. But at some point they just say the hell with it and give up trying to change things for themselves.

Very interesting, if not sad article.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hi Springboard...Yes it is sad...It's easy to fall into the trap especially if you are a working stiff like most of the country...We get lazy, long hours at work eating for pleasure...I have a child who just likes to eat. We have to watch him closely or he will eat all day long whatever he can get his hands on. I just feel for the kids they don't have a chance.

Thanks for dropping in I always enjoy seeing what you have to say.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Tammy - when I was a kid, we were outside playing whenever we could. Recess at school meant running around like we were crazy, tag was okay. Nobody at potato chips unless it was a party or special occasion. Times have changed. People are not built to sit on their behinds all day, stuffing themselves with high calorie, low nutrition foods. It is kind of sad, isn't it?


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

It is and it's really easy to let your kids do that. We were the same way. My son may get recess if the teacher decides she wants to send them out most of the time they are inside and the school lunches offer very little nutrition. My son has become myopic and over weight in the last two years (nor morbidly but more than a child should have). I can't control what happens at school so I have made the decision to take matters into my own hands and homeschool.

Thanks for dropping in it has been a long time since I have seen you drop by.


christalluna1124 profile image

christalluna1124 6 years ago from Dallas Texas

Tammy,

So good to see you again. I love the hair..how strange mine is chestnut brown now!! LOL!! I love the article. Even being from Mississippi I have noticed lately that my family has gotten alittle chunkier LOL!! Great to see your still here.

warmest regards,

chris


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago Author

Hi Chris...I am still here but I don't write as much as I used to. I have been busy with a lot of "life happens" stuff and writing more for another site.

I would love to see a picture of your new do! Glad things are going well with you. Thanks so much for dropping by and taking the time to comment. (((hugs))) Tammy


ExoticHippieQueen 5 years ago

Hi Tammy! Mississippi may be one of the worst,but we know it's a nation-wide epidemic. I recently packed on the pounds and do not like one thing about it, yet procrastinate about getting it off. This is just more encouragement for me to get back on the road again.....


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 5 years ago Author

Hi ExoticHippieQueen...Nice to meet you. Glad I could help. Wish it was as easy to take off the weight as it is to put on. Most people will diet and exercise for a short time, fail to see any results and stop. The older I get the harder it is to shed unwanted pounds.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to make a comment.

Tammy

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