UC Nutrition Policy Institute: Our Mission


NPI, the Nutrition Policy Institute
at the University of California, conducts research that 
improves the nutrition, health and wellbeing of people and
communities across the state and the nation. With high costs plaguing
our health care system, the need for disease prevention
has never been more critical. Prevention must begin early Today almost one in four
children in the United States is pre-diabetic or diabetic
before reaching adulthood. Healthy eating can not only
prevent Type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease,
stroke, even some cancers, the major causes of illness
in our country. The challenge facing us is
not a lack of knowledge about the importance of
healthy eating, but rather, overcoming barriers to
obtaining healthy foods. The Nutrition Policy Institute
at the University of California is working to change this. The University created NPI
in 2014 to ensure that rigorous research would be
mobilized to tackle the critical nutrition policy issues of our time. The need for science-driven
food and nutrition policies that change our communities
to support access to healthy foods is greater than ever
if we are to promote health and reduce disparities. How has NPI contributed to
policy wins? Here are some examples: NPI showed that schools would
not lose money if they stopped selling chips and soda.
California became the first state to pass legislation prohibiting
sales of these foods in schools. NPI demonstrated that cooking from
scratch in school kitchens doesn’t cost more than selling pre-packaged
foods, and that kids prefer freshly prepared meals. NPI showed the benefits of
providing healthier foods in the WIC program for
infants, children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. NPI provided the evidence to pass
California’s Healthy Beverages in Childcare law. Preschoolers now get only a limited
amount of 100% fruit juice; no sugar-sweetened beverages,
and free, safe drinking water. NPI provided evidence that
clients at food pantries would rather get healthy foods
instead of chips, candies and soda. This work has led to improved
nutrition policies and healthier foods and beverages distributed
by food banks. Here at the Nutrition Policy
Institute we are driven to act because we believe that access
to healthy food is a human right. We are working to ensure
that healthy food is available to all. That is our mission.