Nutrition and Wellness

What is the Project on Nutrition and Wellness (PNW)?

The Project on Nutrition and Wellness leverages the knowledge, influence and resources of the public interest and private sectors to improve the nutritional health of the nation. PNW brings together individuals and groups – with expertise in consumer behavior, marketing, public health, nutrition education and public policy – to create a major, unified shift in demand for healthier foods and put market forces to work to address obesity, diabetes and other nutrition-related conditions.

Why Is This Important?

Currently, 35.7% of adults – 78 million people – and 17% of children and adolescents in America are obese; many more are overweight. This alarming trend has led to increased rates of Type 2 Diabetes and many other adverse health outcomes, costing the U.S. an estimated $190 billion a year in medical expenditures, $4.3 billion in business losses, and posing a threat to our nation’s future.

How Can PNW Create Change?

PNW’s unprecedented alliance of over 50 influential thought-leaders – including consumer advocates, food industry executives, local and national alliances, foundations, physician and public health groups, health insurers, academic experts and others – works in a sustained manner. Stakeholders pool their expertise and resources to:

  • Reach a shared understanding of the key factors influencing consumer food choices;
  • Identify incentives, messaging and other initiatives that promote healthier food choices, including use of new technologies; and,
  • Leverage this information to develop and implement a shared plan of action through private and public initiatives.

The Project aims to create measurable change in American food consumption habits. Over a year of interviews and research suggest that shaping consumer demand toward healthier food choices – while recognizing that consumer behavior is not influenced solely by individual choice, but by many factors – provides a unifying framework for cooperation across diverse groups. Shaping consumer demand has the added advantage of putting market forces to work, creating a virtuous cycle that encourages the production and marketing of healthier food.

For more information about this project, please contact Amy Slechta at amy@convergencepolicy.org.