Stone, M. (2011). Enhancing the delivery of supplemental nutrition assistance program education through geographic information systems. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 43(4, Suppl 2), S148-S151. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.01.009
The California Department of Public Health and the USDA has began an initiative known as The Network for a Healthy California (known as Network) to educate individuals who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In order to be eligible, the person's household income should be below 185% of the federal poverty level.
The Network implements GIS technology to geographically identify areas of California that contain large numbers of eligible individuals. GIS is used to identify eligible census tracts, low-resource schools, and community sites (i.e. unemployment housing or food banks).
Network users also use GIS to create layers of varying information, from the California Fitness-gram scores to the number of fast-food restaurants available to students within a half-mile of school. Currently, the Network has 122 layers available for spatial analysis.
The maps that result from these spatial analyses are used to influence policy makers decisions and engage the neighborhoods that are identified.