Nudging as a Support for Behavioral Change in Lifestyle Medicine

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The practice of lifestyle medicine and its emphasis on behavioral change continues to grow around the world. Yet much of the burden of disease weighing on healthcare systems from chronic, modifiable conditions remains stubbornly present. From a behavior change perspective, efforts to date have primarily focused on public health messaging and public health campaigns (global approaches) to interventions such as health coaching (individual approaches). There exists an opportunity to consider contextual elements which support behavioral change. The practice of “nudging” behavior in primary care and allied health settings is proposed as a means of responding to these contextual opportunities. Nudging does not assure change; however, it can invite curiosity about change and small behavioral efforts in the direction of a desired change. Furthermore, its nature conserves autonomy and patient choice while inviting a health-creating behavior. As such, when considered and applied in the context of public health and individual treatment options, it creates a consistent milieu in which behavior change is facilitated.

nudging, lifestyle medicine, behavior change, chronic disease, health, autonomy

Matthews S. (2023). Nudging as a support for behavioral change in lifestyle medicine. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 17 (6), 775-781.

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