Home > Improving people’s health: applying behavioural and social sciences to improve population health and wellbeing in England.

Public Health England. (2018) Improving people’s health: applying behavioural and social sciences to improve population health and wellbeing in England. London: Public Health England. 57 p.

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Many of the problems currently impacting on population health, such as smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity, could be reduced by changes in individual behaviour. However, while individual behaviour change is extremely important, a comprehensive and coherent framework to address these problems needs to draw more broadly on behavioural and social sciences to identify and solve structural and social issues.

There is a wealth of evidence that many of the issues that undermine or enhance our health outcomes have structural, social and behavioural determinants (2–4). This includes the environments in which we live, work, and play; how education, employment, income, and access to health care services are distributed; and our experiences and perceptions of the built and online environments, social behaviour, stigma, and discrimination. Many of these are also affected by digital developments.

In this strategy we present the contributions of selected key behavioural and social sciences to public health, and the opportunities they present to build on current practice and improve the cost-effectiveness of interventions (Figure 1). We focus mainly on understanding and changing behaviours and practices but evaluation is also key to this process and the behavioural and social sciences provide tools for evaluation and behavioural and social scientists are skilled their use.

Transdisciplinary approaches, where people skilled in a range of disciplines work together on public health problems, could be used more widely. We hope that this strategy will foster further systemic growth in transdisciplinary approaches to public health. It is not intended to be exhaustive or the last word, but the start of a process.

Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Report
Drug Type:Tobacco
Date:September 2018
Pages:57 p.
Publisher:Public Health England
Corporate Creators:Public Health England
Place of Publication:London
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:F Concepts in psychology > Specific attitude and behaviour > choice-making behaviour
F Concepts in psychology > Specific attitude and behaviour > risk-taking behaviour
G Health and disease > Public health
VA Geographic area > Europe > United Kingdom > England

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