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Obesity study released

In a recent study conducted by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Mississippi tied with West Virginia for first place in relation to adult obesity rates.

According to a Healthy Americans press release, the obesity rate in the state is 35.1 percent.

Laine Jackson is a registered dietitian at Picayune’s Highland Community Hospital and said she is responsible for nutritional assessments, composing meal plans, teaching nutritional classes and educating the hospital’s outpatients and inpatients about nutrition.

Jackson said obesity plays a role in a number of diseases including, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers and stroke.

The main things people can do to combat obesity, Jackson said, include increasing physical activity and consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. People should also decrease the amount of concentrated sweets and high fat foods consumed.

“Portion size is really important,” Jackson said. “Our dinner plates have grown in size over the years. Choosing a smaller plate, for example a salad plate, forces one to eat smaller portions.”

Jackson recommends participating in a physical activity such as walking, biking or swimming for 30 minutes a day five times a week.

Jackson said that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 12.7 million children and adolescents’ aged two to 19-years are obese.

“Unhealthy eating habits that are formed at a young age could lead to diseases such as early onset diabetes and hypertension,” Jackson said.

Jackson said a 20-ounce soft drink can contain about 6.4 tablespoons of sugar and an eight-ounce chocolate milk contains two tablespoons of sugar.

Mississippians should be mindful of what they are eating, Jackson said. Don’t eat in front to the television in order to monitor the food and stop eating when full; listen to the body.

Jackson said it is important to utilize all resources when family budgets are tight.

“One should buy frozen fruits and vegetables,” Jackson said. “Utilize the sales, buy lean meat when it is on sale and freeze it.”

There are ways to eat healthy at a restaurant also, Jackson said. Plan ahead and look at the meal choices and nutritional information. Order a to-go box at the beginning of the meal because the meal portions are generally larger.

“The meal will go further financially and be healthier,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she is available for public speaking at schools and the workplace about nutrition.

Contact Jackson at 601-358-9657 or through email at lmjackson@highlandch.com.

For more information about Healthy Americans visit the website at www.healthyamericans.org.

For more information about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, visit the website at www.rwif.com.

Learn more about healthy eating at www.eatright.org.