Transforming Bodies + Lifestyles
Insights into Inspiring Behavior Change
Inspiring people to change their behaviors in order to become healthier remains one of the most intractable challenges. But it also remains one of the most significant. Fifty-percent of all deaths each year are the result of potentially preventable chronic diseases such as heart disease—costing hundreds of billions of dollars annually. To address these and other challenges, behavior change efforts will be central to shaping the future of health and health care.
This environmental scan, Transforming Bodies and Lifestyles: Insights into Inspiring Behavior Change, identifies key strategies that stakeholders throughout the global health economy can use to help people make lasting changes that promote long-term health. It takes a broad look at emerging theories of motivation to identify key insights in the form of opportunities to intervene to change unhealthy behaviors and enable people to build capacities to create health and well-being in their own lives. It also identifies critical emerging technologies that will shape our everyday health experiences. Combining insights from the social sciences and technology creates new opportunities to deliver more persuasive, personalized, and meaningful messages to promote healthier behaviors.
Some examples include:
- For behavior change to be successful, information needs to be targeted to individuals based on their contextual needs. Luckily, technological advances from smart phone apps, sensor networks, and the Internet of Things are making it easier for individuals to receive targeted, contextually relevant feedback that connects them to relevant resources in their Personal Health Ecology.
- Improvements in how “real” virtual reality simulations can be, and how immersively they can engage all human senses, allow us to more effectively visualize and experience the benefits of making changes that have an immediate cost plus a delayed benefit that won’t be experienced in the real world for many years—a circumstance that has historically been a real barrier for sustained motivation.
- Cutting edge studies of the way social networks work is showing that you can change attitudes, weight, and other factors of individuals just by inducing changes in some of the key people around them. In the future, we’ll understand how to most cost-effectively target only a small number of people at the center of social networks for behavior change, and from there create changes that ripple through societal networks and result in significant aggregate change at the level of the city, state, or the country.
Together, these insights from social science and technology point toward new strategies you can use in your work today to develop and enhance your long-term behavior change initiatives.
Developed to compliment our 2010 map on the Future of Science, Technology and Well-Being, this scan points you toward things you can begin doing today to inspire behavior change in the long run.
We are delighted to share this new environmental scan with you.