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Developmental origins, behaviour change and the new public health

Developmental origins, behaviour change and the new public health
Developmental origins, behaviour change and the new public health
developmental approach to public health focuses attention on better nourishing girls and young women, especially those of low socio-economic status, to improve mothers' nutrition and thereby the health of future generations. There have been significant advances in the behavioural sciences that may allow us to understand and support dietary change in young women and their children in ways that have not previously been possible. This paper describes some of these advances and aims to show how they inform this new approach to public health. The first of these has been to work out what is effective in supporting behaviour change, which has been achieved by careful and detailed analysis of behaviour change techniques used by practitioners in intervention, and of the effectiveness of these in supporting change. There is also a new understanding of the role that social and physical environments play in shaping our behaviours, and that behaviour is influenced by automatic processes and 'habits' as much as by reflective processes and rational decisions. To be maximally effective, interventions therefore have to address both influences on behaviour. An approach developed in Southampton aims to motivate, support and empower young women to make better food choices, but also to change the culture in which those choices are being made. Empowerment is the basis of the new public health. An empowered public demand for better access to better food can go a long way towards improving maternal, infant and family nutrition, and therefore the health of generations to come.
behaviour change, developmental origins, diet, public health, young women
428-433
Barker, M.
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2
Barker, M.
374310ad-d308-44af-b6da-515bf5d2d6d2

Barker, M. (2015) Developmental origins, behaviour change and the new public health. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, 6 (5), 428-433. (doi:10.1017/S2040174415001312). (PMID:26152930)

Record type: Article

Abstract

developmental approach to public health focuses attention on better nourishing girls and young women, especially those of low socio-economic status, to improve mothers' nutrition and thereby the health of future generations. There have been significant advances in the behavioural sciences that may allow us to understand and support dietary change in young women and their children in ways that have not previously been possible. This paper describes some of these advances and aims to show how they inform this new approach to public health. The first of these has been to work out what is effective in supporting behaviour change, which has been achieved by careful and detailed analysis of behaviour change techniques used by practitioners in intervention, and of the effectiveness of these in supporting change. There is also a new understanding of the role that social and physical environments play in shaping our behaviours, and that behaviour is influenced by automatic processes and 'habits' as much as by reflective processes and rational decisions. To be maximally effective, interventions therefore have to address both influences on behaviour. An approach developed in Southampton aims to motivate, support and empower young women to make better food choices, but also to change the culture in which those choices are being made. Empowerment is the basis of the new public health. An empowered public demand for better access to better food can go a long way towards improving maternal, infant and family nutrition, and therefore the health of generations to come.

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More information

Published date: 8 July 2015
Keywords: behaviour change, developmental origins, diet, public health, young women
Organisations: MRC Life-Course Epidemiology Unit

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 381285
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/381285
PURE UUID: 4f74f3fc-ebbf-4e6a-929a-715604adebb3
ORCID for M. Barker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2976-0217

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Oct 2015 12:13
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:18

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