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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.
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