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

Your Kids Could Be Drinking Themselves Sick

NYC Health Dept unveils provocative new ad campaign targeting sugary drinks: 'Your kids could be drinking themselves sick' By Elaine WATSON, 26-Nov-2013 New York City’s Health Department has unveiled a new anti-obesity campaign highlighting the... More »

Food Navigator USA | November 26, 2013


VITAL SIGNS: Forging new paths to the power of prevention in health

SOUTH African global public health specialist Dr Derek Yach is now director of The Vitality Institute in New York, and senior vice-president of The Vitality Group, Discovery’s US arm. He tells Marika Sboros about his... More »

Business Day | December 17, 2013

Eating Better for Less: A National Discount Program for Healthy Food Purchases in South Africa

Background: Improving diet quality is a key health promotion strategy. The HealthyFood program provides up to a 25% discount on selected food items to about 260,000 households across South Africa. Objectives: Examine whether reducing prices... More »

American Journal of Health Behavior | January 2013

A Cash-Back Rebate Program for Healthy Food Purchases in South Africa: Results from Scanner Data

Background: Improving diet quality is a key health promotion strategy. There is much interest in the role of prices and fınancial incentives to encourage healthy diet, but no data from large population interventions. Purpose: This... More »

American Journal of Preventive Medicine | March 19, 2013

Food Industry: Friend or Foe?

Open discourse and tolerance between the food industry and public sector is limited. As a result, the public and private sectors are reluctant to collaborate on pressing nutritional issues. Those in the public sector have... More »

Obesity Reviews | October 13, 2013

Healthy Food Pre-Commitment

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 | February 7, 2014