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Miss. can change its ‘weighs’ in time

Last week’s news that Mississippi’s obesity rate among high school students dropped a bit was welcome.

In two years, Mississippi fell from No. 1 to No. 5 on the list of the states with the highest rates of obesity among high school students.

Despite the good news, unfortunately two problems remain.

First, Mississippi health experts suggest the drop is not statistically significant, implying the change could simply be a statistical variance. That means it might bounce right back up again on the next survey.

Second, and perhaps most important, even with the drop, Mississippi’s high school teens are well above the national average for obesity.

Approximately 16 percent of Mississippi high school students are considered obese, compared with the 13 percent national average.

Even if the latest news is only a statistical anomaly, perhaps it’s enough to gather a little attention and continue efforts to improve the diets of teenagers and get them off the couch and more active.

Anecdotally, most long-time teachers will attest that healthy students tend to have better attendance records and are better able to focus and pay attention in class.

The overriding point there is that healthy bodies result in better-educated minds.

Efforts to reduce fat in school lunches may be helping, but ultimately, our society must change our eating habits and our activity levels if we hope for the change to be more than a statistical anomaly.