In the US, obesity has increased as diets have shifted toward nutrient-poor, calorie-rich foods, which are relatively inexpensive to produce, largely due to government subsidies, but costly to population health. Opportunities exist to provide healthy choices throughout the food system and reduce the costs and burden of NCDs. Current misalignment between the agriculture and heath sectors contributes to the economic drivers behind NCDs. Although the USDA recommends that fruits and vegetables make up 50 percent of daily food intake, they are currently grown on only 2 percent of US farm acres. One goal of agriculture can be to support long-term population health. Working to address the oversupply of empty calories in the US can help curb the obesity epidemic as well as decrease food waste.

Within the workplace, the content and price of foods can be levers for change. Employers can invest in the health of the workforce by offering healthier foods and reduced portion sizes. A focus on the productivity of working-age Americans within the food-health space supports the Vitality Institute’s mission. Additionally, partnerships with retailers, including Walmart’s “Great for You” Program, can help incentivize healthier food choices at the point of sale through offering a discount on approved food products.

The Vitality Institute supports research and dissemination information about health promotion and disease prevention by strengthening the link between the production, accessibility, and consumption of healthy food.

The Evidence

From the Blog

Harnessing the Power of Women to Beat Diabetes

April 7 marks the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Day. This year’s theme – Beat Diabetes – comes at a critical time when 415 million people are affected by diabetes worldwide. The campaign aims... More »

Gabriela Seplovich and Adriana Selwyn | Apr 7, 2016
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From the Blog

Incentivizing Healthy Food Choices for Better Health

One year ago today, John Hancock and Vitality embarked on a collaboration to create a whole new type of life insurance: a shared value approach whereby financial benefits from individuals living healthier and longer lives... More »

Adriana Selwyn | Apr 6, 2016
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From the Blog

“Move for Health” – Physical Activity and Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is a disorder that causes blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal. The most common form of diabetes is Type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetes. With this disease, your body does not use... More »

Kristie Willenborg | Apr 5, 2016
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From the Blog

Making Strides: Fitness versus Food Tech

Do you want to track your physical activity? There are countless options for smartwatches and fitness trackers that automatically record your daily steps and workouts. Do you want to track your nutrition? Unfortunately, your options... More »

Sarah Kunkle and Gillian Christie | Mar 29, 2016

From the Blog

Breaking Down the New Dietary Guidelines

Last month, the long awaited 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released. Updated every five years, these guidelines outline what Americans should be eating to stay healthy based on the latest scientific research. Right in time... More »

Adriana Selwyn | Mar 17, 2016
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From the Blog

Making Healthy Diets Affordable

Nineteenth century writer Virginia Woolf famously noted, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.” An unhealthy diet– is associated with four of the top ten risk factors that... More »

Gabriela Seplovich and Adriana Selwyn | Feb 2, 2016
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The Economics Of Cancer Prevention & Control: Data Digest

Developed for the World Cancer Leaders' Summit 2014, with the input of the Vitality Institute   Introduction With the adoption of the UN Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in 2011, the world’s political leaders... More »

Union for International Cancer Control | Dec. 3, 2014

A Thought for Food Podcast Series

A Thought for Food, Series 1 and 2, are entertaining podcasts produced by The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science and Science & the City. The goal of A Thought for Food is for listeners to learn... More »

Sackler Institute For Nutrition Science |

Do Workplace Health Promotion (Wellness) Programs Work?

Authors: Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD; Henke, Rachel Mosher PhD; Tabrizi, Maryam PhD, MS; Pelletier, Kenneth R. PhD, MD (hc); Loeppke, Ron MD, MPH; Ballard, David W. PsyD, MBA; Grossmeier, Jessica PhD, MPH; Anderson, David R.... More »

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (JOEM) | September 2014

8. Food @ Work (Webinar Series)

David Eisenberg (Harvard, Samueli Institute); Mark Erickson (Culinary Institute of America)

Learn More & Register | April 15, 2015 | 2-3pm ET