The doctor is in...
A recent report finds that Mississippi's senior citizens, those ages 65 and older, are the unhealthiest in the country, and the trends are deeply troubling.
Here are some of the key findings in the study:
- A disturbing line in the report notes that "Mississippi ranks 50th for all health determinants combined, so it's overall ranking is unlikely to change significantly in the near future."
- Mississippi has the highest level of senior citizens living in poverty at a rate of 13.5 percent.
- The national average for seniors who believe their health is "very good" or "excellent" is 39.9 percent; it is 29 percent in Mississippi.
- Nearly 30 percent of our state's seniors are obese!
- Roughly ten percent of our seniors smoke cigarettes.
- About 17 percent of Mississippi's seniors have a college degree.
For the past 28 months, Governor Bryant has championed his "health care economy." The problem is that he is establishing so-called health care zones for industrial development but is not helping to provide the means to allow people to access health care services. Then again, Bryant believes that health care access means everyone gets access to an emergency room.
Additionally, Mississippi's poverty is the key factor behind all of this. Poor people means unhealthier outcomes; it's as simple as that. It's no coincidence that the unhealthiest states happen to be the poorest. The study shows that we rank right behind Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alabama - some of the country's poorest states. Until we see some leadership from the Bryant administration on combating poverty, on the bottom we will remain.