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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Study names Mississippi fattest state in nation

    Mississippi is the nation’s fattest state, the Trust for America’s Health, which ranks Mississippi highest for percentage of obese adults.
    Obesity has been a problem in Mississippi for some time, and it’s not getting better, said Brent Fountain, nutrition director for the department of food science at Mississippi State University.
    “Mississippi has been at the front of the trends for obesity numbers for years. We didn’t get there overnight,” he said.
    The Southeastern region has been ranked steadily high in obesity percentages compared with other states for multiple reasons, said Andrea Komm, nutrition education graduate assistant at the Longest Student Health Center.
    “Many Southeastern states have been ranked high in obesity,” she said. Some reasons could be the cooking techniques. The South is known for its fried foods.
    Other causes of obesity could be linked to the plethora of sedentary activities available, increasing dependence on the convenience of fast food or a lack of safe and easily accessible exercise facilities in a community, Fountain said.
    “There is no one pinpointed cause for obesity. Eating behaviors tied to social customs are one important factor,” he said.
    The Longest Student Health Center offers programs to help obese students and prevent obesity, Komm said.
    One is a class that lasts five to six weeks and is free to students and faculty members, she said. “The class is called intuitive eating and teaches individuals ways to lose weight without going on a diet. It focuses more mainly on listening to your hunger cues.”
    “We also have free nutrition counseling that is available,” she said.
    There are many ways to avoid obesity, but the change should be in lifestyle instead of a temporary fix. Small continuous steps usually work better than drastic diets, Fountain said.
    “We recommend small changes and incremental steps because they are easier to continue. Otherwise, you tend to get the ‘yo-yo diet,’ where a person will lose weight and then revert back to bad eating habits and gain back the lost weight plus more,” he said.

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    Study names Mississippi fattest state in nation