USDA uses web tool to track changes in community food choice

Wednesday - 3/2/2011, 3:40pm EST

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is rolling out a new phase of its food environment atlas. The Web tool was originally designed a year ago to let users click on any county in the country, and get data on the local food choices and diet quality that influence an individual community's health. IT was developed as part of the first lady's Let's Move campaign. The latest rollout almost doubles the number of data points for each county in the atlas. It now considers 168 different indicators. USDA says the updates they've just made to the web tool will also let the agency and the site's users track changes in food choice over time. It includes data on everything from the concentration of farmers markets vs. convenience stores in a given community, to the average distance to the nearest grocery store. The site has already logged 100,000 visitors.