Behavior change toward healthier living: What’s new and what works

Different messages will work for different people, says Rory Gallagher on how to encourage people to lead healthier lives

Promoting healthy behavior is critical to preventing chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and respiratory ailments. There are many ways to do it — like text messaging campaigns to encourage regular doctor visits or for patients to take their medication.

“When we're leading busy lives, juggling lots of other decisions, just a simple reminder can be enough to prompt you to adhere as you wish to do, but often other things get in the way,” noted Rory Gallagher, managing advisor and director of international programs at the U.K.'s Behavioural Insights Team, on the sidelines of the recently held Asia-Pacific Regional Innovation Summit organized by the United Nations Development Program in Bangkok.

Gallager’s team — better known as the “Nudge Unit” in the United Kingdom — seeks to help people “make better decisions” using insights from the body of research on behavioral economics and psychology. Created in 2010 by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, it now operates as a joint venture with the Nesta charity and the Cabinet Office.

Watch the above clip to hear more from Gallagher about proven approaches to encourage behavior change toward healthier living.

Want to learn more? Check out the Healthy Means campaign site and tweet us using #HealthyMeans.

Healthy Means is an online conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with Concern Worldwide, Gavi, GlaxoSmithKline, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Johnson & Johnson and the United Nations Population Fund to showcase new ideas and ways we can work together to expand health care and live better lives.

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About the author

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    Ma. Eliza Villarino

    Currently based in New York City, Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.