So far, so good. Governor Bryant clearly means to be a champion for improving Mississippi’s health.
A Thursday article in the Clarion-Ledger pointed to a number of new initiatives and focus areas, including:
- “Eat Healthy Mississippi,” a USDA-funded effort to improve eating habits and promote locally grown food.
- A governor-sponsored annual 5K race to promote regular exercise habits.
- Planning for improved medical facilities in synergistic “zones” or “corridors.”
- Inducements for physicians to practice in underserved areas of the state.
We can expect the conservative Bryant (and presumably the majority Republican legislature) to feature personal responsibility as a factor in improving the state’s health profile. And no doubt individual decision-making is a central component of any comprehensive approach.
It’s not the only one, however, and arguably not even the most important one, in affecting behavior at a population level. Smart policy – policy that makes the right choice the easy choice, to paraphrase state public health officer Mary Currier – is at least as prominent a factor.