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Perspect Public Health. 2018 Mar;138(2):100-110. doi: 10.1177/1757913917720233. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Use and effectiveness of behavioural economics in interventions for lifestyle risk factors of non-communicable diseases: a systematic review with policy implications.

Author information

1
Research Assistant, Department of Public Health, College of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babes-Bolyai University, 7 Pandurilor Street, Cluj-Napoca 400376, Romania.
2
Center for Health Policy and Public Health, College of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
3
Department of Public Health, College of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Abstract

AIM:

There is limited evidence on what behavioural economics strategies are effective and can be used to inform non-communicable diseases (NCDs) public health policies designed to reduce overeating, excessive drinking, smoking, and physical inactivity. The aim of the review is to examine the evidence on the use and effectiveness of behavioural economics insights on reducing NCDs lifestyle risk factors.

METHODS:

Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and EconLit were searched for studies published between January 2002 and July 2016 and reporting empirical, non-pharmacological, interventional research focusing on reducing at least one NCDs lifestyle risk factor by employing a behavioural economics perspective.

RESULTS:

We included 117 studies in the review; 67 studies had a low risk of bias and were classified as strong or very strong, 37 were moderate, and 13 were weak. We grouped studies by NCDs risk factors and conducted a narrative synthesis. The most frequent behavioural economics precepts used were incentives, framing, and choice architecture. We found inconclusive evidence regarding the success of behavioural economics strategies to reduce alcohol consumption, but we identified several strategies with policy-level implications which could be used to reduce smoking, improve nutrition, and increase physical activity.

CONCLUSION:

Most studies targeting tobacco consumption, physical activity levels, and eating behaviours from a behavioural economics perspective had promising results with potential impact on NCDs health policies. We recommend future studies to be implemented in real-life settings and on large samples from diverse populations.

KEYWORDS:

behavioural economics; lifestyle risk factors; non-communicable diseases

PMID:
28715989
PMCID:
PMC5748366
[Available on 2019-03-01]
DOI:
10.1177/1757913917720233
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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