The food, or nutrition environment, is widely believed to contribute to the increasing epidemic of childhood and adult obesity in the United States.

Nutrition environments are the places in a community where people buy or eat food. In order to identify and describe community nutrition environments, there is a need for well-defined and reliable tools to measure these environments, and for trained observers who can use the measures in their communities.Vegetables

With the support of our funders, we have developed an online training program of the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Stores (NEMS-S) and Restaurants (NEMS-R) for researchers and community advocates and leaders so they can use the tools for research and action in their own communities.

Also on this website, you will find additional NEMS tools, support materials for using any or all of the tools in your community, and NEMS related materials that other NEMS users have shared.

NEMS NEWS and Exciting Updates

New NEMS Grab and Go (NEMS-GG) tool developed!

Brian Lo and other collaborators from Canada have published NEMS-GG, an audit tool assessing food outlets that sell grab and go foods around a University setting.  Below are the links to the tool and scoring.  The instructions are embedded in the tool so there is not a separate protocol.  If you  have specific questions related to the tool, you will need to email Brian Lo, You can find the journal article citation listed on our publications page.


New NEMS article on Audit Item Reduction and the article on the Perception of the Nutrition Environment ... go to our publications

Farmer's Market Audit Tool

Dr. Carmen Byker Shanks of Montana State and others have developed an audit tool for Farmer's Markets modified from NEMS.  Their recent publication of the tool (Shanks, C. B., Pitts, S. J., & Gustafson, A. (2015). Development and Validation of a Farmers’ Market Audit Tool in Rural and Urban Communities. Health promotion practice, 1524839915597899) is now available.

Please click on the links below for the tool and instructions.

CDC's Healthy Hospital Food and Beverage Environment Scan

Hospitals have a role to play in creating settings that encourage healthier eating and physical activity choices for their employees, patients, visitors, and residents of surrounding communities.

To support the creation of healthier hospital environments, CDC modified the NEMS tools for hospital settings. Hospital administrators, nutritionists, human resources employee health staff, and other interested supporters can use the tool to assess and improve food and beverages offered by hospitals in cafeterias, vending machines, or other eating areas. There is also a physical activity scan that can be done as well.

Click here to access the CDC's hospital scan step-by-step guide. If you plan on using the hospital scan, Dr. Brook Belay, its developer, would be very appreciative if you emailed him ( to let him know about your project!

Click here to access the CDC's guide on using strategies to promote healthier food, healthier beverages, and physical activity choices as well as specific steps on how to evaluate these efforts.

Article in Huffington Post

Daniel J. Shultz, a public health nutritionist, wrote an article recently in the Huffington Post mentioning NEMS titled "A New Year's Resolution That Benefits Everyone: Upgrading How We Evaluate and Shape Our Food Environment."

NEMS YouTube Video

Jenny Chen, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, created a YouTube video about NEMS for her Urban Planning fieldwork class. To see the video, click here.

CDC and NPS Collaborate on Healthy Foods Evaluation in National Parks

CDC and the National Parks Service adapted NEMS tools to evaluate access, availability, pricing and promotion of nutrition offerings and compiled tools to evaluate free plain drinking water access in national parks. During May 2011 these standardized tools and protocols were piloted in 11 national parks and in fall 2011, over 40 public health staff collected data in national parks across the US. Five evaluation tool modules with detailed protocols were used to collect data about the food environment as seen from the perspective of a typical consumer from multiple settings within parks: restaurants, stores, snack shops, beverage or food vending machines and free drinking water access points.

Cerro Gordo Smart Phone Dining Guide App

The Cerro Gordo Health Department of Iowa did NEMS assessments of all of the restaurants in the county and developed a Smart Dining Guide App for Smart Phones.

NEMS-V Poster Presentation at APHA 2013

Dr. Kimberly Narain used NEMS-V to analyze beverages sold in city parks and the impact of nutrition policy in Carson, CA.  She presented her findings at APHA 2013. 

We would like to share with others all of the exciting news and activities that relates to NEMS, whether it is a project update, a publication, grant funding, customizations, etc. Please send us an email at


Click here for older news.


NEMS is funded with support from the National Institutes of Health, the United States Agricultural Department, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Georgia Cancer Coalition and the Center for Health Behavior Research at the University of Pennsylvania.

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