NMMC launches magazine

By Marty Russell

Daily Journal

What can comedian George Burns teach you about staying healthy?

Well, he is 100 years old.

An interview with Burns is the cover story of a new publication being distributed by North Mississippi Medical Center that combines articles about national health news and trends with stories and photos of programs and people at the Tupelo-based hospital.

“Mississippi is 50th out of 50 as far as healthy lifestyles,” said NMMC Administrator Dr. Jeff Barber. “We have an opportunity to impact that and a lot of what they will read has to do with healthier lifestyles.”

The new magazine-format publication is called Vim and Vigor, and the first copies were distributed to Northeast Mississippi doctors’ offices and individuals earlier this month. While addressing serious health-care issues both locally and nationally, the magazine also uses celebrity interviews to attract readers.

“What it tries to do is present noncontroversial people like George Burns, who certainly has a story to tell,” Barber said. “It gives us an opportunity to piggyback on some national figures, which we think will make it more appealing to our readership. The whole objective is to make them pick it up and read it.”

Arriving four times a year, Barber said the magazine should be around long enough for some of the health suggestions to sink in.

“The more people see it and read it, the more likely they’ll retain what they read,” he said.

Barber said the majority of health-care costs are associated with only 10 percent of the factors that actually determine an individual’s health. That 10 percent – actual medical care – has less to do with a person’s health than lifestyle, environment and genetics, he said.

A recent survey by a national insurance firm ranked Mississippi 50th in the nation in terms of the health of its population, pointing out that the state’s “weaknesses focus on lifestyle (high prevalence of smoking, high motor vehicle deaths and high risk for heart disease) and access issues (poor access to primary care, low support for public health care, low adequacy of prenatal care.)”

The purpose of the magazine is to educate the community about some of the things that can be done to improve health through lifestyle changes and to make the public aware, particularly in rural areas outside of Tupelo, of what is available through NMMC.

The first issue features articles on stress reduction, caring for a new baby and finding time to get fit.

Also included are local articles on NMMC’s Workers Compensation Management System and a new program at the hospital to test all newborns for hearing impairment. Readers can also find local phone numbers to receive additional information.

Vim and Vigor is published by a Phoenix, Ariz., firm and North Mississippi Medical Center is the sole distributor in the state.

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