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Story Archives: Why obesity plagues the South, and what's being done
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|Why obesity plagues the South, and what's being done|
By TORI STILWELL
For the past seven years, Mississippi and Louisiana have found themselves leading the nation in a field officials say they're not proud of: obesity.
Although rates continue to climb across the country, the southern states especially can't seem to shake the weight. The problem is proving to be costly and one that lawmakers, state officials and locals alike are looking to solve.
In its annual "F as is in Fat" report, released June 29, the Trust for America's Health ranked Mississippi as the most obese state in the country for the sixth year in a row, with 33.8 percent of its population obese. Louisiana wasn't far behind, weighing in at fifth place with a 31.2 percent obesity rate.
Laura Segal, one of the report's authors and the director of public affairs for the trust, said there are combinations of factors contributing to the states' stayed position at the top of list.
"Clearly there's a lot of systemic issues that make it hard to make dramatic changes in a short period of time," Segal said. "I know that the states have been doing a lot of things already, it's just going to take a while for things to turn around."
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