Human Interest

Raising Health in Mississippi

Hushpuppies, Fried Chicken and Pork Chops have been Arkansas staples; however, over the past several years they’ve been revised and replaced by healthier options.  Once, deemed as an overweight state, Arkansas has taken proactive measures to fight the obesity rate by establishing the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ARCOP) and Southern Ain’t Fried Sundays (SAFS).

Before the state of Arkansas established health programs and initiatives, Dr. Scott Hall, M.D. of Cypert Ridge Family Practice, located in Helena, Arkansas had been advocating healthy living to his patients for years.  Born and raised in Arkansas, Dr. Hall’s life has always consisted of wholesome eating habits and an emphasis on physical activities.  “I grew up on a farm, where the family sat down and ate all three meals together,” remembers Dr. Hall.  His mornings begin at 4:30 with a run followed by weight conditioning after work.  Don’t think that he expects his patients to work out as much as him though.  Dr. Hall recommends starting with one thing at a time.  “People often make the mistake of going from one extreme to the next,” he says.  For example, start by revising your diet, and then gradually incorporate exercise into your daily routine.  For many people, their days are already packed with school, work and family so to find time to workout can often seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be.  “This is your time,” Dr. Hall informs when referring to exercise.  Whether it’s walking during your lunch break or riding your bike with the kids, exercise can be fun and therapeutic.

Diet and exercise isn’t just about being physically attractive, it’s about your health.  When Dr. Hall comes across a patient suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes, he advises they follow a nutrition and exercise plan as a means to lower their blood pressure and maintain their diabetes.  However, nutrition and exercise advice aren’t just limited to patients who require it; Dr. Hall supplies it for everyone.  “Preventative medicine is the focus,” he states.  The younger a patient starts eating well and getting consistent physical activity, the more likely they’re able to avoid health scares.

1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (NIV).  If our bodies are temples then we should feed and treat it lovingly instead of poisoning and damaging it.  Thanks to the state of Arkansas and Dr. Hall, citizens have the tools and education to becoming healthy and live a longer, happier life.

Featured in By U Magazine’s Fall 2010 Issue as Amanda Williford