HealthcarePapers 12(4) December 2012 : 42-47.doi:10.12927/hcpap.2013.23223

Redeeming Behaviours: A Push, Not a Shove

Joan Wharf Higgins, Susanne Cookson, Cynthia Hastings-James and Amanda Frazer


By now, it's no secret that Canadians are struggling to maintain a healthy body weight, eat right and get enough physical activity to promote their health and prevent the early onset of, or to manage, chronic disease. Considered with our tendency to have poor adherence rates to prescribed medications and difficulties overcoming addictive substances, this struggle threatens to shorten our life spans and overburden our healthcare system. To turn the tide, layered and coordinated initiatives at the population level are needed that educate, motivate and support individuals to embrace healthy living. In this commentary, the authors respond to Oliver's recent paper on the utility of user financial incentives and architectural choice interventions as mechanisms for facilitating voluntary behaviour change. They concur with many of his ideas and argue that a more comprehensive approach, particularly adhering to the principles and strategies of social marketing, is needed to stimulate and sustain behaviour change.



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