Mississippi ranks #4 in the nation for obesity, Type 2 diabetes

The National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute will host a Diabetes Awareness and Health Expo on Thursday, November 9th.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 5:54 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Diabetes is a major health concern impacting our nation with Mississippi being one of the leading states for diabetes.

In fact, Mississippi ranks #4 in the country for obesity and Type 2 diabetes, affecting an estimated 300,000 residents.

According to Biloxi-based Dietitian of the National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute, Kimberly Cruz, there’s a common misconception.

“It starts with your nutrition,” says Cruz. “That’s what people are not getting and not understanding.”

In Cruz’s sit-down with WLOX, she emphasized the importance of patients not solely depending on medicine and recognizing the benefits of how both medicine and nutrition work together.

“Exercising plays a huge part in that, eating the right foods and the right portion sizes of your foods can help with preventing Type 2 diabetes,” she said.

Dr. Stephen Farrow of the institute says about one hundred thousand people in the state aren’t even aware they have diabetes.

“Income, education, the difference between urban and rural populations all matter because you’re talking about the ability to access health care when it’s available but also the ability to find conveniently available healthcare as well,” said Dr. Farrow. “We definitely know that rural areas of the country are underserved and Mississippi is heavily underserved.”

Dr. Farrow says you also have to factor in certain ethnic groups’ lack of access to fresh produce and other healthy sources of nutrition.

“The rate for African Americans and other disadvantaged or underserved minorities is quite a bit greater,” he said. “You can actually see those numbers reflected in obesity rates. The state obesity rate is an access of 40% but if you look at African American men and women, their rates are generally an access of 70% where white Mississippians cap out at about seventy percent so those issues also exceed the national averages.”

The state obesity numbers are expected to double over the next decade.

The National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute will host a Diabetes Awareness and Health Expo Thursday, Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event will be held at William Carey University.

Click here to subscribe to WLOX News on YouTube: Keep up with South Mississippi news, sports, and local events on our YouTube channel!