Well, once again, we show up looking bad in a poll. You'd think we were due for one in the win column, but we just can't catch a break. the latest report says that people in Louisiana can't expect to live quite as long as folks in the rest of the nation. The nationwide age expectancy is 78.8 years, but here in Louisiana, the life expectancy is only 75.7 years. Why are our numbers so much lower than the national average? Well, the experts say that there are several factors that contribute to that condition.

Right now , in our state, the biggest killer is heart disease followed closely by cancer. According to Dr. Bernard Foch, with the department of health,  those two factors account for 88 % of deaths. Foch added that only preventable were to blame in both cases.

Dr. Foch added:

"What's leading to these chronic diseases - we know that obesity, as well as physical inactivity and smoking, are the top behavioral causes of early death of people in the U.S.,"

Sadly, our state ranks first in obesity. Obesity leads to diabetes which leads to hypertension and all that combined will make a person more susceptible to heart disease and it just goes downhill from there.So, what can you do about the situation? Well, according to the report:

"It's a cultural problem, as well as a health problem, when fast food and fried food and crawfish and boudin, and all these things, are engrained in the culture - that's a tough thing to fight," said John O'Donnell, coalition coordinator of a Healthier SWLA.

One way of getting a good start back to health is to reduce one's weight by even 3 to 5%. Just losing some of the excess weight can reduce all those negative side effects of improper diet and exercise. Another factor contributing to our problem is that Louisiana is 49th in the nation for poverty. there are a lot of factors involved when you bring poverty into the picture. -

impoverished communities have trouble moving around; they don't have neighborhoods that are safe; fast food is cheaper than healthy food. They don't have access to healthy food; I mean even here in Lake Charles, there are areas in town where you can't get healthy food from the supermarket, but there's a Popeyes,"

What's at the root of all these problems, well, other than smoking, it all comes down to our regional diet habits. Let's face it, we eat a lot of rice and gravy.

To read more about this report go to KPLC