GULFPORT -- A Gulfport woman is hoping a nutrition expert can help improve the way people eat in South Mississippi.
Shirley Warren said she is tired of reading about Mississippians' bad health habits.
"The state is first in obesity, and now a new report says that people in the state have a shorter life expectancy than people in other states and we need to do something about this."
Warren said she is a fan of British chef Jamie Oliver and his work, particularly on his 2010 ABC show "Jamie's Food Revolution." The reality series followed Oliver as he went to Huntington, W.Va., one of the unhealthiest regions in the country, and attempted to teach people how to change their health through their dietary habits.
"I sent chef Oliver an email and asked him if he would be interested in starting a similar program in Mississippi," she said. "It would be something that we could start in South Mississippi and then take it to other parts of the state."
She said she received an email back from Oliver's office saying he was out of town.
"I really like his work and I like what he was able to do in one of the unhealthiest cities in the state," she said. "Maybe he could teach people how to change their diets and this would help them make other healthy changes in their lives."
And though there's no guarantee Oliver will launch a nutrition program in Mississippi, Warren said there is plenty that can be done to make the state a healthier place to live.
"I would like to see people get together and start making educational presentations and offer help on a personal basis," she said. "The problem is generational for many in the state and you have to not only teach better food options, you also have to let people know why what they are currently eating is bad for them."