Health management tools are among 17 new mobile applications that are available on the General Services Administration's newly revamped USA.gov Website.
USA.gov, officially relaunched on July 2, is a central portal for all federal government entities operated by GSA, which is the government agency that manages the basic business operations of the U.S. government, such as office properties and equipment.
Some of the apps are designed for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, while several run through a mobile browser. The redesigned USA.gov is part of the government's strategy to make government services more innovative and faster to use, according to Dave McClure, GSA associate administrator of citizen services and innovative technologies.
On July 2, Peter R. Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, posted a blog describing the new apps. Running on the iPhone, the National Institutes of Health's Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator allows you to enter your height and weight and then get your relative amount of body fat. Depending on the numbers, you'll be "underweight," "normal weight," "overweight" or categorized under "obesity." The app allows you to enter data for standard or metric measurements.
USA.gov also adds NIH's MedlinePlus Mobile for the mobile Web, which includes health news and information on prescription drugs. Meanwhile, MyFood-a-Pedia by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion provides dietary and nutrition information for more than 1,000 foods. The tool allows you to enter a particular food and find out the amount of calories and the food group to which it belongs.
Also added is the Environmental Protection Agency's ultraviolet index to provide guidelines on avoiding skin-damaging exposure to the sun. Another app provides notification of the status of veterans benefits.
The mobile software suite also includes an app from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for handling disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorism.