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CEO Perspective

Spotlight: Shaping Healthier Environments with Smart Policies

In Indonesia and around the world, we’re working for environments that promote health including safer streets, better air quality and more.

Health is inextricably linked to the people and institutions that shape our everyday lives—from the schools our children attend, to the government departments that manage the streets we use, to the businesses that shape the advertising that surrounds us. And policy is the best tool we have to empower people by making the healthy choice the easy choice. Seat-belt laws, food labeling, smoke-free spaces, bans on trans fat, and clean air regulations are just a few of the policy areas that can help to make our daily lives more healthful when they are implemented and enforced. Strong policies and individual choices reinforce one another to create social norms that in turn support better laws and choices. We’ve seen this during the COVID-19 pandemic: policies on mask-wearing and physical distancing have made these protective behaviors routine.

Our Food Policy team, in its continuing effort to support healthy food policies and prevent obesity, just launched a new policy guide, “What’s in our Food? A guide to introducing front-of-package nutrient labels.” Front-of-package labeling is a cost-effective, high-impact strategy that empowers consumers with effective, evidence-based front-of-package nutrient labels that identify the unhealthiest foods—those high in sugar, salt and fat—so they can make better food choices and live longer, healthier lives. 

—José Luis Castro 
President and CEO, Vital Strategies 

We’ve curated some of our policy-related videos, statements, reports and blogs.

What To Watch  

A Recipe for Health: The Urgent Need for Food Policy (VitalTalks)

Our recent VitalTalks, held in conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, was a virtual discussion on the pressing need for more effective global food policies to combat food insecurity and promote access to safe and nutritious food.

How Mexico Stood Up to Big Soda and What Latin America is Doing in the Fight Against Obesity (VitalTalks)

Expert Focus 

To Tobacco Companies Black Lives Don’t Matter (Op-Ed for The Hill by Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President for Policy, Advocacy and Communication, and Mary T. Bassett)

Meet the Woman at the Center of London’s Redefined Approach to Childhood Health

Harm Reduction Emphasized in Pennsylvania Governor’s Strategic Plan to Reduce Overdose

Fueling an Unhealthy Future: 5 Questions with Nandita Murukutla on How Health Harmful Industries Will Sicken Millions

Nine Questions with Judith Mackay: How the Tobacco Industry is Undermining Health Policy with Nine Crooked Tactics

CEO Perspective  

Why Road Safety is a Critical Public Health Issue

Press Statement: “Implementing strong warning labels on food packaging confirms that Mexico’s policymakers are serious about reducing the country’s obesity epidemic.”

Childhood Malnourishment: A Devastating Global Failure

Diabetes: We Need Stronger Policies

Global Policy 

A Clear Message in Ouagadougou: Cut out Sugary Drinks to Prevent Disease

In Barbados, Support Grows for Healthy Food School Policy

Healthy Food Policy Fellowship

Why a Sugary Food Tax Matters in Jamaica


What’s in Our Food: A Guide to Introducing Effective Front-of-Package Nutrient Labels

WHO Report on Global Trans Fat Elimination 2020

Three Public Health Interventions Could Save 94 Million Lives in 25 Years