Regional Demographics & Statistics

Louisiana Health Report Card & American Health Rankings


% of Population in Louisiana

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Louisiana residents among least physically fit, says CDC survey

By Bruce Alpert, | Times-Picayune  on May 06, 2013

WASHINGTON - There's more confirmation that Louisiana residents are among the least physically fit in the United States. A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that just three states have a lower percentage of adults who meet both the aerobic and muscle strengthening components of the government's physical activity recommendations.

 Just 15.5 percent of Louisiana residents meet the recommendations, compared to 20.6 percent of adults surveyed across all 50 states and Washington D.C.

The only states with lower rates than Louisiana were West Virginia and Tennessee, both with 12.7 percent of adults meeting recommended physical fitness levels, and Alabama, with 15 percent.

In terms of aerobic exercise, 42 percent of Louisiana residents meet the government recommendations, while 24 percent met the muscle strengthening guidelines. Nationally, only Oklahoma, West Virginia were worse on muscle strengthening exercise rates; while only Mississippi and Tennessee had lower rates of aerobic exercise compliance.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, or a combination of both.

The guidelines also recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups, or activities using resistance bands or weights. These activities should involve all major muscle groups and be done on two or more days per week.

The CDC acknowledges some limitations with the report. It is based on self-reporting survey of over 450,000 adults. So, it's possible that Louisiana participants were more truthful about their lack of exercise than residents of other states.

Still, the findings are consistent with other surveys that have put Louisiana toward the bottom of the most physically fit states.

The CDC found some reason for optimism - at least in terms of the national results.

"Although only 20 percent of adults are meeting the overall physical activity recommendations, it is encouraging that half the adults in the United States are meeting the aerobic guidelines and a third are meeting the muscle-strengthening recommendations," said Carmen Harris, epidemiologist in CDC's physical activity and health branch. "This is a great foundation to build upon, but there is still much work to do. Improving access to safe and convenient places where people can be physically active can help make the active choice the easy choice."


Delta States Have More Obesity, Diabetes

News - Star - Monroe, La. - Author: Sarah Eddington - Date: Apr 3, 2013

Residents in Louisiana and other Delta states face significant health challenges, particularly with obesity and diabetes, according to new data compiled by the Delta Regional Authority. DRA launched an online interactive tool Tuesday that allows citizens and public health leaders to track regional health data in order to develop regional health solutions for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky. DRA's new online Healthy Delta Research Database provides in-depth data reports of health as well as other major community indicators for the region broken down by state and parish or county. The data is being released during National Public Health Week to emphasize the importance of recognizing Delta communities' strengths and challenges in order to take action to improve public health in the Delta region.

"If you can track a problem, you can help solve a problem," said Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority during a conference call Tuesday. "This new tool identifies and tracks the health challenges facing this region and our people."

According to the data, when compared with national rates, deaths in the Delta region from circulatory diseases are 16 percent higher, deaths from cancer are 12 percent higher and deaths from motor vehicle accidents are 39 percent higher. Additionally, more than 32 percent of adults in the Delta report that they are obese (compared to 26 percent in non-Delta counties) and almost 12 percent report that they have diabetes (compared to 8.9 percent in non-Delta counties). People can select specific parishes in Louisiana and get access to community reports featuring more than 50 lifestyle measures such as health outcomes, population characteristics, education and income levels, and state and regional comparisons.

According to the data, Ouachita Parish has an adult diabetes rate of 12.2 percent, which is higher than the state's average of 9.2 percent and the national average of 7.5 percent. Ouachita Parish's adult obesity rate is 32 percent, which is higher than the state's average of 27.1 percent and the national average of 25.1 percent. In northeastern Louisiana, East Carroll Parish had the highest adult obesity rate of 36.1 percent. The highest in the state was St. John the Baptist Parish with 39.3 percent. Tensas Parish had the highest number of adults with diabetes in the state at 14.5 percent.

Dr. Teresa Waters, a professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center who helped compile the data, said communities can use the online tool to better understand their health care needs and benchmark their improvements over time.

"Our aim for these Healthy Delta Regional Data Reports was to provide highly relevant, up-to-date health and demographic data in a format that was readily accessible and easy to use," she said.

The online data reports can be viewed at the DRA's website (
ID_Code: DI-304030313

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.