Unhealthy lifestyles place a significant burden on individuals and the healthcare system. Over the last decades, a strategy focused on individuals rather than structural incentives has gained momentum. An individually oriented strategy often relies on healthcare professionals intervening to promote healthy lifestyles through, for example, dietary advice for people with obesity or motivational interviewing to promote physical activity.
The beneficial effects of healthy lifestyle habits are uncontested. However, for these interventions to work, the intervention must improve the likelihood of both the immediate goal (e.g. behaviour change and weight loss) and the ultimate effect on health (e.g. prevent ischemic heart disease). In other words, just because physical exercise is beneficial it does not mean that advising individuals to exercise more will also be beneficial. Furthermore, to target individuals with unhealthy habits may cause harm, and given the large number of individuals with unhealthy lifestyle habits, an individualised approach also has potential for opportunity costs within health systems due to the considerable time required. Consequently, it is uncertain if the healthcare system is the optimal place to achieve healthier lifestyle habits in the population.
In a series of research projects we are exploring individually oriented lifestyle interventions, including a review of the underpinning evidence of all NICE recommendations of lifestyle interventions, estimates of opportunity costs if clinicians were to follow all such recommendations, and an umbrella review exploring if individually oriented lifestyle interventions help people change behavior. We are also exploring the possibilities to develop guidance for guideline panels/policy makers and clinicians when considering recommendations of lifestyle interventions.
This line of work is done together with (not all are engaged in all the projects) Karina Raygoza Cortez, Mariana García Leal, Fernando Díaz González-Colmenero, Dr Neri Alvarez, Professor René Rodriguez Gutierrez, Dr Loai Albarqouni, Professor Karsten Juhl Jørgensen, PhD student Martin Ringsten, patient advocate Helen Bulbeck, Professor Gordon Guyatt, and Professor Victor Montori.
Publications so far:
Albarqouni L, Ringsten M, Montori V, Jørgensen KJ, Bulbeck H, Johansson M. Evaluation of evidence supporting NICE recommendations to change people’s lifestyle in clinical practice: cross sectional survey. BMJ Medicine 2022;1:e000130. doi: 10.1136/bmjmed-2022-000130
More information is coming soon!