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Nutrient Data Now Available for Home Computers

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
April 15, 2003

BALTIMORE, April 15--Accessing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's online National Nutrient Database is now easier than ever. A user friendly, searchable version of the authoritative nutrient database is available for download onto personal computers (PCs) and laptops free of charge, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced today during a speech at the Department of Health and Human Services' HealthierUS Conference.

"This user-friendly nutrient database supports President Bush's HealthierUS initiative to improve overall health for Americans through regular physical activity, proper nutrition, preventive screenings and healthy lifestyle choices," said Veneman. "The accessibility of the database will make it easier for consumers to make healthy choices by providing important information to personal computers."

USDA announced in October 2002 the portable version of the nutrient database for users of personal digital assistants, or PDAs. Today's announcement extends the availability of the information to personal computers. The information lists up to 117 nutrients for more than 6,000 food items. Each item can be found in any one of 22 food-group categories. The PC-download capability is available on the USDA web site today. After an initial download and installation, the database can be accessed from the computer's hard drive.

The PC application expands the accessibility of the database to more users and includes an option to search the entire database at once, or more narrowly by specified food groups. A portion modifier option is also included. For example, after clicking on carrots, raw, the user can choose from a variety of standard portion sizes. But if the user would prefer to increase or decrease the amounts, portions can be customized to suit individual needs. The search term "not" is also featured, which allows users to screen out unwanted foods by designating, for example, "carrots not raw."

Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Nutrient Data Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., worked with HealtheTech Inc. of Golden, Colo., through a cooperative research and development agreement, to provide users with a downloadable search application for use on their PCs. The lab is part of the ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center. ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.

The new PC-download version requires about 70 megabytes of disk space on a hard drive. The application runs on all Windows versions from Windows 98 SE (Second Edition) to the most recent edition. To download the nutrient database software, go to:

Under the red "Search the Nutrient Database" label, click on "Download Software."

Read more about NDL's recent upgrades by visiting:


For more information on President Bush's HealthierUS Initiative, go to: