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Photo: A research leader (left), and mathematical statistician, review data for the community nutrition mapping project. Link to photo information
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Read the magazine story to find out more.

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 Research Service.

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 life.

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 Research Center.

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 "Go."

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.