Mississippi business leaders, lawmakers and employees are partnering to promote healthier lifestyles in the state.
Mississippi frequently ranks at the bottom nationwide for the incidence of chronic diseases. For example, a 2014 report by the state department of health, says Mississippi has the highest death rate in the country associated with cardiovascular disease. State lawmakers, business leaders and employees are partnering to bring awareness to the problems. They're hosting an annual event called Shape Up at the Capitol to help people live healthier lifestyles. Murray Harber is with the Mississippi Business Group, a coalition of employers. He says the rising costs of healthcare is an issue for businesses.
"Part of healthcare cost is prevention. So the first part of prevention is awareness and activities that you can do and what we're trying to do is bring the resources of Mississippi here to the state capitol so that any employers can come see whose out there that they can go access so if they want to stop smoking they can have a smoking cessation program," said Harber.
There is a list of resources available including health screenings, flu shots, exercise demonstrations, line dancing and help with stress management. Senate President Pro Temp Terry Burton of Newton says what he's learned attending the event has helped him.
"Two and a half years ago I was 298 pounds and on the verge of diabetes and everything else. I got on the scales yesterday and I'm at 233. I mean that's two and a half years but I changed the way I consume food, still eat the same foods just changed the way I eat it," said Burton.
Burton says the goal is for employers and employees to take the information, use it, and share what they learn with their families. Shape Up at the Capitol is next Friday, October 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.