Why are we doing this to ourselves?

By now, you’ve probably heard that “food deserts” are a growing problem, with people unable to afford to buy the kind of food that they need.

While the cause is hard to pinpoint, some researchers argue that we’re all contributing to the problem.

While you may have heard about the high cost of groceries, it may be a bit difficult to imagine a world where a person doesn’t need to rely on food stamps to eat.

A new study published in the journal PLOS One, however, argues that this is a very real problem.

“Food deserts are real,” said the study’s lead author, Matthew J. Riggs, a PhD student at the University of Michigan.

“It’s not just a problem of bad supermarkets or bad distribution channels, it’s a problem with poor nutrition.”

The study looked at how Americans are eating.

For each state, researchers used data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (NNDSR) to compare how people in each state ate compared to the rest of the country.

Rigs that counted the amount of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, and dairy products eaten per capita were used.

The researchers found that food deserts were prevalent in each of the states, with one outlier in California that had the largest number of food deserts.

While food deserts are not new, they are still growing in importance.

According to the National Center for Community Health, food deserts include areas with limited access to fresh food, such as rural communities, and areas where people have trouble purchasing fresh produce and meats, such a grocery store.

The problem is so pervasive, according to the authors of the study, that they were able to find that the prevalence of food desert areas has grown by more than 10 percent per state in the past two decades.

“In 2016, we found that there were 2.8 million food deserts in the U, with a prevalence of 14.5 percent, and that in 2015, that number was 4.2 million,” said Riggs.

“The current population of people in these areas is estimated to be between 10 and 40 million, and a lot of the people who live in those areas are not going to be able to afford a good quality of life.”

The researchers argue, however; that while the problem of food poverty is real, we can and should address it.

“We need to understand that the problem is not that people don’t have the resources to eat, it is that they don’t want to,” said James W. Loomis, a professor at the John Temple University School of Law and a co-author of the paper.

“If we can help people get more of what they want, it will be a huge improvement in their quality of lives.”

The authors also point out that people need to eat nutritious foods to be healthy, and food deserts do not reflect a lack of resources for eating.

“Most people eat a lot less than they could eat if they ate all their calories from fresh fruit and vegetables,” Riggs said.

“Even if they do that, that still won’t be enough to maintain a healthy weight.”

He added, “A lot of food in our culture has been packaged and marketed as fresh fruit that tastes good.

It’s a marketing ploy that’s designed to give people the illusion of having good nutrition.”

Riggs hopes the findings can lead to policies that help people with food deserts to better understand their needs, and how to improve their nutrition.

“You can get nutrition advice that is focused on making sure that people have healthy food in their diets,” he said.

This article was originally published by The Next WeFood and is reprinted here with permission.