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Health Report Card: “Failed in many areas”

We promised you yesterday to provide the particulars of the Mississippi State Medical Association and the Mississippi State Department of Health’s 2011 Mississippi Public Health Report Card.

It’s a little late because the Fifth Circuit’s damages cap ruling took up yesterday’s blog time, but here it is:

“The state’s health is in critical condition,” said Dr. Timothy Alford, MSMA president. “We have failed in many areas.”

Alford was referring to our state’s rankings in several health indicators. For example, according to the MSMA and the MSDH, Mississippi has more obese adults per capita than any state in the U.S. We also lead in adults who report no physical activity in the past month. We lead in deaths by heart disease, we’re second in cases of diabetes and hypertension, first in traffic fatalities and second in infant mortality.

Basically, like we have been for generations, we’re first in everything bad and last in everything good. Mary Currier, the state health officer, says those statistics trace back to choices.

“Many of these things are predictable and are things we can do something about,” she said during a press conference Thursday at the Capitol.

Numbers like these that are unveiled during a legislative session are usually accompanied by recommendations, and the Report Card was no different. Fighting the general unhealthiness, Alford said, will take a statewide smoking ban, and full funding of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, the Healthcare Trust Fund, the Trauma Care Trust Fund and full funding of Medicaid. So like everything and everybody else, the MSMA and MDH are asking for money.

It’s an election year, so Medicaid will almost certainly be given most if not all of the money it needs. A smoking ban, however, is already meeting resistance for the same reason.

Re-election anxiety will be at the center of every major decision this session, and these issues are not immune. So have a good weekend, and lay off the french fries.

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  1. Chester Cohron
    January 24th, 2011 at 10:01 | #1

    With MS continued results being #1 in obese, diabetes, amputations from diabetes…something needs to be done. It is suggested that restaurants and theaters offer low fat…lower calorie options. The key is to tax high calorie and high fat foods, but people would drive across state lines to shop…therefore, it will have to fall on restaurants, theaters, and outdoor events, and public schools to offer healthy choices…education is the key…some people see nothing wrong in eating a TUB of popcorn at the theater, but the fat and calories are more than 8 hamburgers…education and choices are needed.

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