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Health officials push preventative care

Health officials push preventative care
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Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi Department of Health
MPB News

Recent data show Mississippi is closing 2018 with high rates of cardiovascular disease and obesity. The state's leading health officials tell MPB's Ashley Norwood they are ramping up awareness about preventative care.

Mississippi ranks near the top in the U.S. for poor health behavior and use of clinical care, according to a study compiled by America's Health Rankings. The national report cites an increase in diabetes.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs is the new State Health Officer. He says preventative care starts at home.

"Exercise. Even if you're overweight and you exercise you're in a lot better shape. You're healthier and your glucose tolerance is better. Only about 11 percent of people in Mississippi get the recommended amount of exercise," said Dobbs.

Dr. David Buys is a state health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. He says Mississippi's poor health outcomes vary across the state.

"So we know that if we looked at a map we would see high pockets of obesity and cardiovascular disease in the Delta. But I think it's more to the point is that it's where there's high concentrations of poverty where people are not able to afford to make healthier choices that could lead to better health outcomes," said Buys.

The Health Rankings report also says there's been an increase in cancer deaths in Mississippi. Dr. Dobbs says the Mississippi Department of Health is raising awareness about programs that help low-income citizens get screenings and vaccinations to help prevent the disease.

"We're talking about screening for breast cancer for cervical cancer there are programs out there that can make sure people are getting screened. Vaccinations, the HPV cancer vaccine is so effective. Twenty-four percent of girls in Mississippi complete the cancer vaccine that's absolutely deplorable when we can just about nearly eliminate all cervical cancer," said Dobbs.

The full study is online .
Ashley Norwood, MPB News.