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Press release

Resolve to Save Lives Announces Grants to Promote Healthy Food in Publicly Owned Facilities

New York, USA - July 29, 2020

Innovative Programs in Three Countries Will Save Lives by Improving Diets

July 29, 2020 (New York, NY)—Globally, poor diet is linked to one in five deaths, killing 11 million people each year. Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, announced the recipients of grants to reduce preventable deaths from dietary risk factors by promoting healthy food options in public settings. Awardees in Philippines, Nepal, and Togo will develop, implement and evaluate policies requiring food sold and served in government-owned facilities, including hospitals, schools, and worksites, to meet evidence-based nutritional standards.

The year-long grants were awarded to Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University Hospital in Nepal; ImagineLaw, in the Philippines; the Division of Non Communicable Disease Surveillance at the Togo Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene and the Uganda Ministry of Health.

“Dietary risk factors are a major driver of preventable noncommunicable diseases, including heart disease,” said Dr. Laura Cobb, Director of Nutrition Policy and Surveillance atResolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “Governments can save lives—and money—by only buying, serving, and selling food and beverages that promote a healthy diet. Our new partners in Philippines, Nepal, Togo are protecting people’s health with smart policies that keep junk food—including sugar-sweetened beverages and salty snacks—out of schools and other public facilities, making healthy food choices easier on a large scale.”

Poor diet (including over consumption of salt and sugar, and low intake of fruits and vegetables) contributes to chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. Chronic health conditions linked to poor diet, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. can also increase risk of severe COVID-19. Eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet can create stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases.

Around the world, millions of meals are consumed each day in government-owned settings. By setting nutritional standards through healthy public food procurement policies, which regulate the food served or sold by government-owned entities, governments can make healthy food the default option on a large scale.

The new grantees will develop and implement food procurement policies in line with best practices that have been shown to increase demand for healthier food, and can reduce health care costs and productivity losses from malnutrition and diet-related noncommunicable diseases.

Grant Recipients and Projects:

Togo Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, Division of Non Communicable Disease Surveillance

Make healthy, local foods more accessible on public-sector grounds, such as schools and universities, by creating a cross-sector advocacy group with members of the Ministries of Health, Commerce, Education, and Trade to develop policies; developing, testing, and executing a public health communication campaign; and training vendors on public-sector grounds in healthy cooking practices.

Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University Hospital

Develop, implement, and evaluate a public food procurement policy in government-owned schools, worksites, hospitals, care homes, and food vendors in Kathmandu, Nepal.

ImagineLaw

Develop, implement and evaluate a model policy on healthy public food procurement forlocal government units in Quezon City, Philippines.

Togo Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene, Division of Non Communicable Disease Surveillance

Make healthy, local foods more accessible on public-sector grounds, such as schools and universities, by creating a cross-sector advocacy group to develop policies; running a public health communication campaign; and training vendors on public-sector grounds in healthy cooking practices.

Uganda Ministry of Health

Develop, implement and evaluate a food procurement policy, dietary guidelines, standards and regulations for healthy diets in two high-burden districts from the Central and Eastern Uganda.

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

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