Date of Award
Chemistry and Biochemistry
The Lower Mississippi Delta is characterized by poverty, chronic health issues, health disparities, and food insecurity. The rural Delta communities are primarily African American, experiencing disproportionately higher rates of poverty, job loss, and chronic health problems. Historically, chronic health issues have persisted in these areas over time, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, which have only seemed to increase in this region. The food environment in this rural region tends to assist in the creation of the largely obesogenic population which, in turn, contributes to the increased prevalence of diabetes and hypertension and a lower quality of life. Many residents in the study community do not have access to clinics to maintain their health.
This study was conducted in order to provide a foundational baseline of health measurements for this rural Delta community for future research, provide health information to the community members, and also raise awareness for health education. Participants were given the opportunity to have their blood pressure, blood glucose, and body mass index (BMI) measured and assessed as optimal or at-risk categories, which were not diagnostic. Furthermore, this research study provided feedback pertaining to living a healthy lifestyle, and local resources, all of which were provided by the University of Mississippi Medical Center Community Health Advocates Program. Most participants were overweight or obese adults, usually accompanied by high blood glucose or elevated blood pressure levels. Recommendations from the research assistants contained information from the MyPlate plan, and it also provided resources to the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Centers that were in the surrounding areas.
This study strives to raise awareness for the increased prevalence rates of chronic health issues within the region and incite a call to action for future research. The collection and analysis of this data provides the necessary data for the need for more intensive research initiatives for the Lower Mississippi Delta area.
Mitchell, Sydney, "Baseline Health Assessment of a Rural Delta Community" (2020). Honors Theses. 1482.
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