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

New Opportunities in the Changing Landscape of Prevention

By Derek Yach and Chris Calitz The focus of medical research has historically been on curative medicine, yielding better drugs, medical devices, and clinical procedures. Prevention science—the systematic application of scientific methods to the causes... More »

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) | July 17, 2014

Improving Support for Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention: Summary of Key Messages from Reports of the Institute of Medicine

Leigh Carroll and Bridget B. Kelly, Editors   This paper was commissioned by the Vitality Institute, an organization with a mission to advance knowledge about the evolving science and art of chronic disease prevention and... More »

Institute of Medicine (IOM) | June 18, 2014

Vitality Age Gaps Across America

Unhealthy behaviors are causing Americans to age faster. On average, Americans are 5 years older than they think, according to research from Discover's Vitality Institute. View full infographic here.

The Vitality Group | APR 2013

The Whole World Is Getting Fatter, New Survey Finds

The whole world is steadily becoming more obese, a new study shows, but not surprisingly, the U.S. is No. 1. The survey of 188 countries shows that nearly 30 percent of the global population, or... More »

NBC News | May 27, 2014

Cash for Carrots Could Save Lives

Non-communicable diseases have become more prevalent over the past years. The risk for non-communicable diseases are mostly related to personal behavior, especially diet behaviors. By lowering the price of healthy food such as vegetables and... More »

World Economic Forum | April 2, 2013

Can we leave industry to lead efforts to improve population health? Yes

Derek Yach argues that business has good motivation to tackle public health problems such as the obesity epidemic, but, ultimately, says Klim McPherson, companies are interested in their shareholders.

BMJ | April 17, 2013

Poor Diet, Tobacco Use and Lack of Physical Activity Taking Toll on Nation’s Health

While we're living longer, poor diet, tobacco use and inadequate physical activity are negatively impacting our health. These are some of the findings of research released this week by the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators,... More »

Huffington Post, Healthy Living | July 15, 2013

Healthier by Precommitment

We tested a voluntary self-control commitment device to help grocery shoppers make healthier food purchases. Participants, who were already enrolled in a large-scale incentive program that discounts the price of eligible groceries by 25%, were... More »

Psychological Science | January 14, 2014

Nudge, nudge

The app "weight watcher" would be a new tool to encourage sensible behavior as it can help people track their healthy routine and create healthy environment.  

The Economist | December 15, 2012

Battle Obesity by Lowering Prices of Healthy Food

Since the early 1980s, federal dietary guidelines have urged Americans to eat more nutrient-rich foods and cut back on fatty foods and highly processed “empty calorie” snacks such as cookies and chips. But those pleas... More »

Modern Healthcare | May 25, 2013