What is lex-foodscape?
The goal of the Lexington, KY Foodscape Mapping Project is to design an interactive web map that explores the foodscape concept and investigates the prevalence and location of various types of food options in Lexington, Kentucky. A foodscape can be thought of as our food environment, or the places where we shop for, engage with, obtain, and eat food. This project will visualize the food choices that we are faced with in our daily lives. These choices and exposures play a large role in determining how we consume food and the potential health impact of our consumption decisions.
Map users will gain a better understanding of how the factors of access/mobility, affordability, time, and general knowledge of healthy eating guidelines impact their interactions with their foodscape. Gaining this understanding will raise awareness of the daily choices we face in obtaining nourishment and a healthy diet. An underlying theme of this project is a focus on improving food system equity (equal access and exposure to healthy food choices across demographic and socioeconomic groups).
What Makes a Food Healthy or Less Healthy/Unhealthy?
Healthy Food: Foods that contain at least one of the major food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein) equal to at least half the portion size that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020) uses for measuring the nutrients in that food and contain only moderate amounts of saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium.
Less Healthy/Unhealthy Food: Foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations. Recent research suggests that highly processed foods should be grouped into this category.
What Types of Locations Does the Lexington Foodscape Contain?
Convenience Stores: Sell a limited line of goods that generally includes milk, bread, soda, and snacks. (Considered Potentially Less Healthy/Unhealthy)
Limited-Service Restaurants: Provide food services where customers order or select items and pay before eating. Food and drink may be consumed on premises, taken out, or delivered to the customer’s location. (Considered Potentially Less Healthy/Unhealthy)
Full-Service Restaurants: Provide food services where customers order or select items and pay after eating. Food and drink are typically consumed on premises. Some of these restaurants offer take-out options. (Considered Potentially Less Healthy/Unhealthy)
Grocery Stores: Sell a general line of food, such as canned and frozen foods; fresh fruits and vegetables; and fresh and prepared meats, fish, and poultry. (Considered Healthy, although they offer many less healthy/unhealthy options)