High school obesity rate drops in Mississippi students

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi’s obesity rate in high school students has dropped, knocking the state’s teens out of the number one spot down to number five in obesity nationwide.

A 2011 survey finds the rate of obesity among Mississippi high school students down to 16.5 percent from 18.1 percent in 2009.

That sounds like great news, but the state Health Department warns that the drop is not statistically significant, meaning the change could stem from random statistical variance in the survey. Mississippi remains above the national average for obesity among high school students, which is 13 percent.

Still, health officials say they believe a number of statewide efforts to fight fat are succeeding.

Educators and health officials say healthier children miss school less often, focus better in the classroom and develop healthy habits.