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Jesse Smith Byers
Jesse Smith Byers

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Data Sources For Social Justice Focused Projects: Health, Food and Nutrition

As I start planning a new project, I start by thinking about the problem I want to solve with a new application. I have always been interested in social justice issues, so I aim to create tools that can make a difference for a person or a community. Sometimes, the hardest part of the planning and design process can be finding the right data source that can transform a rough idea into reality.

This series will include collections of FREE data sources I've been exploring as I start to plan my next social justice focused project. I hope these resources might help inspire your next project too!

Health, Food and Nutrition

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Data

  • Data focused on health and risk behavior factors in youth, such as diet, physical activity, and weight. (JSON, CSV, and XML formats)
  • Could be used to display and analyze trends in these behaviors. Comparisons can be made across states and over time for each state. Imgur

Food Environment Atlas

  • Includes indicators such as store proximity, food prices, assistance programs, and community characteristics. (XLS and CSV format)
  • Could be used for mapping projects to show food availability and food deserts, with comparisons to other indicators. Imgur

MyPyramid Raw Food Data

  • A zip file including multiple files focused on nutritional information for thousands of foods. (xml or xlsx format)
  • Could be used to analyze and calculate the nutritional impact of meals, or as supplementary information in a recipe application. Imgur Imgur

Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement

  • A national survey with data related to food insecurity, food expenditures, food program participation, and ways of coping with food insecurity. (CSV format)
  • Could be used in a mapping project, or making comparisons across states or years.
    • I'm having trouble accessing this data set right now, but keeping it on the list to investigate further!

These are just a few to start with, and I'll keep adding to the list as I explore more. Please share any health, food and nutrition data sources (or project ideas) you've found useful in the comments!

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