Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NHS Needs New Approach To Tackle Nation's Unhealthy Lifestyles - The King's Fund, UK

“The NHS will fail to tackle the rising tide of obesity and tobacco related illnesses unless it adopts more sophisticated techniques including those employed by commercial advertisers to help people to live healthier lifestyles. That is one of the conclusions of a year-long investigation into the effectiveness of different types of public health programmes to tackle smoking, alcohol misuse, poor diet and lack of exercise published today by The King's Fund. The report finds that these behaviours are deep-rooted social habits that are not easily changed by one-off, short-lived measures. The report also adds that many NHS staff lack the necessary skills and incentives to effectively help people choose and maintain healthier lifestyles. The NHS needs to make better use of social marketing techniques and data analysis tools like geodemographics to identify, target and effectively communicate messages and motivate people to change how they live. Public health programmes shouldn't rely on just one approach - such as information campaigns or financial incentives - as the evidence shows the most effective behaviour change interventions employ a variety of tactics.”

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