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Does Where You Live Affect What You Eat?

Every day, we make decisions about what to eat. And what we eat plays an important role in our body weight and long-term health. Given the high obesity rates in the U.S., a growing number of researchers are asking: how important is geographic access to restaurants in people’s food choices? Some observers argue that the abundance of high-calorie, less nutrient-dense restaurant fare is to blame for Americans’ poor diets and expanding waistline.

Bringing You Food and Fiber to Fit Your Active Lifestyle

If you’ve learned how to cut a mango from a magazine article, read about new fabrics on a website or heard about nutrition research on almonds from a health reporter on TV, chances are one of America’s ag promotion groups made that information possible and available. From the clothes you wear to the food you eat, these groups are leading efforts to research and promote food and fiber that fits your lifestyle.

Partnering with Retailers and Food Manufacturers to Make Healthy Choices Easier

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Achieving a good diet requires access to nutritious food, but it also requires good choices from among the many thousands of products available at grocery stores and other food retailers – a real challenge for consumers. How can we shape a store environment that makes healthy choices easier?

Researchers working with the Food and Nutrition Service recently conducted a thought experiment to encourage healthy purchases in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The researchers asked a number of leading experts to imagine a labeling system in place that clearly identifies the healthiest options in the stores, and develop strategies to promote them, especially for shoppers with limited resources. The strategies had to be feasible, sustainable, cost-effective, and appealing to all stakeholders: food manufacturers, food retailers, and consumers.  The study team first identified key characteristics of labeling systems -- including the need to inform consumers without requiring complex interpretation, and to align with retailers’ and manufacturers’ competitive strategies and business practices.