Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack recently spoke to the United States Conference of Mayors, laying out steps they could take to improve health and nutrition in their communities. He recommended using the "U.S. Food Environment Atlas". The online mapping tool compares U.S. counties in terms of their "food environment"; the set of factors that help determine and reflect a community's access to affordable, healthy food.
"This Food Atlas is an important tool to help guide policy makers and researchers in addressing the links between diet, food access, and public health," Vilsack said. "The new upgrades shed additional light on food environments across the United States and provides an even broader overview of a community's ability to access healthy foods."
With the Atlas, users can visualize and geographically compare a wide range of demographic, health, and food-access characteristics. The update includes 40 indicators for which updated data are available and adds a number of new indicators, including 34 that measure change over time and four that reflect food access. The Atlas is available at www.ers.usda.gov/FoodAtlas/.