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Health experts encourage families to talk more about diet an


Health experts encourage families to talk more about diet and exercise this Christmas

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Obese male sitting on a bench
AP Rogelio V. Solis

National health statistics weigh Mississippi as one of the most obese states. As MPB's Ashley Norwood reports, some Mississippians are using this holiday season to encourage healthier living.

LaToya Braxton is 30 years old. She grew up in Bogue Chitto where she says the holiday menu is a weekly tradition.

"Like eating soul food on Sundays: the dressing, the macaroni and cheese, pig feet, pig tails, all that ham and turkey. I have been battling with high blood pressure for the past four years and I have been trying to cut back. I know I can make a change. I have to because of the things I am seeing in my family," said Braxton.

Braxton says her mom and her grandmother are dealing with health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. She says her grandfather battled with the same and died last week from a kidney failure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost 40 percent of adults in Mississippi are either obese or overweight. Mississippians consume less fruits, less veggies and spend less time engaging in physical activity than the national average.

Kayla Georgewill is a registered outpatient dietitian. She says the holidays are an opportune time to remind loved ones how to maintain their health goals.

"Doing smaller portions can help with not overindulging. So eating breakfast even having like an egg with whole wheat toast and a glass of milk, that is better than not eating at all and then overindulging later on in the afternoon. Even like doing physical activity that same day like you're making them become more physically active and at the same time it's something enjoyable. it's another way to spend time with your family that doesn't necessarily involve food," said Georgewill.

Georgewill says obesity increases the risks of certain health conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and fatty liver disease. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.