The Lists: Food deserts in Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The distance between a house and a grocery store could possibly affect how much a person weighs.

According to Jody Holland, a Food Policy Professor at the University of Mississippi, this is a serious problem for Mississippi, and it is referred to as food deserts.

"The urban perspective is the ability to find and have access to real food within a mile. From a rural perspective, having access to real food within ten miles," said Holland. "And when I say real food, it's food such as produce, not just something you can find at a gas station."

An example of a food desert would be if a person who is on a budget lived closer to a McDonald's than a grocery store, they would be more likely to eat at the McDonald's.

Holland said this is a habit Mississippians need to change in order to fix the Obesity problem in our state.

"The mindset is a tremendous part; it's one of the major options in this entire system of eating better in terms of Obesity," said Holland. "Fast food is extremely convenient for individuals and it is easy for them to have access to and its cheap, that's the thing. Conversely, going to the grocery store and buying and purchasing produce…it's just more complicated."

Holland said the best way to fix food deserts in our state is by hosting, and shopping at more local Farmer's Markets.

"Access to quality food, local food, it's the ability to provide solutions to enhance farmers markets that can provide food outlets for individuals to have access when they normally don't have access, "said Holland.

According to Holland, by shopping at local Farmer's Markets, people would not only benefit their health, but would also benefit the economy.

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