*The ClarionLedger.com reports that Sunday church dinners haven’t been the same at Oak Hill Baptist Church in northwest Mississippi. Fried chicken and soda are banned. Collard and mustard greens are seasoned with smoked turkey necks instead of pork.

And on other days, the parking lot doubles as a walking track.

“It’s not about the major things, but can you do several minor things? Can we make our congregation overall healthier?” said Michael O. Minor, pastor of the Hernando church, who is spearheading efforts to get more churches in the Delta to help reduce the state’s high obesity rate. “Folks think it’s hard to get some things done. This is very simple. People need ideas. …They want to do, but they don’t know how to do.”

As everyone from local families to the federal government try to get a handle on spiraling health care costs, a major challenge is the alarmingly high rate of obesity, particularly in the South. Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are among 12 states with obesity rates above 30 percent, according to a new report by Trust for America’s Health, a public health research and advocacy group.

Read more at ClarionLedger.com.