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Researchers Map Out Community
Nutrition By Rosalie Marion Bliss
April 25, 2003
An updated, online resource for checking a state's nutritional
health is now available from the Agricultural
The resource, called The Community Nutrition Mapping Project (CNMap), was
developed by the ARS Community Nutrition Research Group (CNRG) in Beltsville,
Md. It includes information on nutrient intakes, physical activity and body
weight, healthy eating patterns and food security. Food security is defined as
access by all people, at all times, to enough food to lead an active, healthy
The resource tool provides a series of easy-to-read tables and
color-coded customized maps that can be accessed by anyone on the World Wide
Web. Nutritionists, policy makers and public health workers at community,
county, state and national levels can create profiles in CNMap to gauge whether
a community is at risk for food security or other nutritional problems.
CNMap was created by customizing Geographic Information System
software and combining it with data from a variety of sources to provide a
snapshot of human nutrition, health and behavior. CNRG is headed by
nutritionist Ellen W. Harris and is one of seven research units that make up
the ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition
CNMap's gallery of maps provides comparison data on fat,
cholesterol, sodium and macro- and micro-nutrient intakes by state. Users can
look up, for example, the percentage of individuals meeting the recommended
dietary allowance for folate or for calcium in a given state. Other indicators,
such as the percentage of those meeting recommended Food Guide Pyramid
servings, are also available.
To access CNMap on the World Wide Web, go to:
Then, choose a state under the pull-down arrow and click
Read more about community nutrition in the April issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.