Sunday, March 14, 2010


United States of America is a veritable treasure house of information on all types of human activities both inside the country as well as out side. When it comes to food, nutrition, health and well being, no other country can match its capabilities and data base. With health care policies enmeshed in political acrimony, the country is really at the cross roads not able to control the onslaught of health disorders like obesity, CVD, diabetes, cancer and others. While government policies and actions can bring only limited relief, it is ultimately the responsibility of the citizen to control what he eats and how much he eats. The Food Atlas is a venture in educating the consumer through authentic information with the hope that an enlightened consumer is the best bet against diseases caused by food.

"USDA's Economic Research Service launched the U.S. Food Environment Atlas as a tool for providing a spatial overview of a community's ability to access healthy food and its success in doing so. The Atlas documents such factors as store/restaurant proximity, food prices, food and nutrition assistance programs, and community characteristics, all of which influence food choices and diet quality. Users can use the Atlas to create maps showing the variation in a single indicator across the U.S., such as the prevalence of obesity or access to grocery stores across U.S. counties, as well as to view all of the county-level indicators for a selected county, and identify counties sharing the same degree of multiple indicators; for example, counties with both high poverty and high obesity rates".

For an Indian citizen yearning for such facilities is like aspiring to go to Moon! Of course data are generated in India by many government agencies on food, nutrition, deficiency status, disease prevalence etc. How ever very little percolates down to the common man, because of the "frog in the well" model the government agencies work in the country with very little cooperation and coordination.
Alas Indian citizen is left to fend for himself in this directionless slide of the country!


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