Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Wikimedia Commons

The nation's diabetes problem is getting worse, and health officials say the biggest changes have been in Oklahoma and a number of Southern states.

The diabetes rate in Oklahoma more than tripled over 15 years, and also boomed in Southern states like Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama.

Most cases are the kind of diabetes linked to obesity. Health officials believe extra weight explains the increases in the South and Southwest. They also say the rates overall are up because people with diabetes are living longer.

David Herholz / Flickr

Alabama's infant mortality rate has reached an all-time low, but it's still high nationally.

Figures released by the state health agency on Thursday show Alabama's infant death rate was 8.1 infant deaths for every 1,000 births last year.

The figure is a record low, but it's high compared to the most recent national average. The U.S. rate was 6.1 deaths per 1,000 births in 2010, the latest year available.

A new survey by a group campaigning against obesity finds that Alabama is the sixth-fattest state in the nation.

A study by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 32 percent of Alabama's adult residents are obese. It says 63 percent of the state's residents will be obese by 2030.

The survey found that neighboring Mississippi is the fattest state in the nation, with a current obesity rate of 35 percent. The report predicts 67 percent of Mississippi's adult population would be obese by 2030.

Mobile leaders reject smoking ban

Jul 10, 2012
khawkins04 / Flickr

Mobile City Council members are rejecting a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars.

The proposal received only four of the five votes it needed to pass on Tuesday.

The Mobile County Health Department has been trying to persuade cities to ban smoking in public places. The agency is promoting such ordinances with the help of a $2.25 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.