Using Strategic Science to Improve Food Labeling Policies

In a video interview, Christina Roberto, Phd, director of the Psychology of Eating and Consumer Health (PEACH) Lab, discusses how she uses a”strategic science” approach to engage policymakers in her research around food labeling policies. This approach can be applied to numerous other areas of public health research.  

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Healthcare IT News: How to put behavioral economics to work for more effective patient engagement

“… In a recent interview with Healthcare IT News, Asch explained the value of behavioral economics. While patients might be irrational in their decision-making processes, they’re ‘irrational in highly predictable ways,’ he said. That means that health systems that focus on patient psychology can more successfully leverage that knowledge to help drive engagement and healthier behaviors. ‘The idea that we should educate people and help them make better decisions has only minimal effectiveness,’ said Asch. Behavioral economics shows that consumers are not always rational, even when equipped useful information and handy health gadgets. ‘Fitbits and pedometers don’t make you walk…

Read More Sodium content needs to be on the menu at Philly restaurants. Here’s why

“… Nearly 50 percent of American adults have high blood pressure, putting them at great risk of suffering a stroke or developing heart disease, two of the leading killers of Americans. Because excessive sodium contributes to high blood pressure, reducing our sodium intake is important for our health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we eat no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. But nearly all of us are overshooting that goal, with 89 percent of Americans consuming more than that on a daily basis. When we look at where we are getting all this sodium, we find that it doesn’t come from using…

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Healthcare IT News: Technology with behavioral insight data can improve outcomes for patients

“‘One reason people eat the chocolate cake or fail to take medication is that we have what is called present biased, we think about what is in the present [rather] than the long-term effect,’ said Asch. The same principle is often seen in healthcare too… For example, why do some people not take their medication even though they know that in the long run it’s will improve their health? But Asch says there are ways for people to buy into engaging with technologies that will help improve health outcomes.” Read more at Healthcare IT News.

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The Star: Why ‘Fresh Starts’ — Like New Year’s Resolutions — Really Work

“Hengchen Dai, Katherine Milkman and Jason Riis began by analyzing eight-and-a-half years of Google searches. They discovered that searches for the word ‘diet’ always soared on Jan. 1 — by about 80 per cent more than on a typical day. No surprise, perhaps. However, searches also spiked at the start of every calendar cycle — the first day of every month and the first day of every week. Searches even climbed 10 per cent on the first day after a federal holiday. Something about days that represented ‘firsts’ switched on people’s motivation.” Read the rest of the story here.

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When It Comes to Calorie Consumption, Is Knowledge Power?

“The other day, I went to order lunch from a local chain restaurant. Half a turkey sandwich and a small cup of soup sounded like a good, appropriately sized, warm meal for a wintery day. As I placed my order, a kiosk tallied the calories right before my eyes: 400 for the sandwich and almost 300 for the soup… Hmm. That seemed like a lot. Maybe, I thought, if I remove the bacon from the sandwich… and get a smaller soup…? “You know Image credit: Terrence Horan, MarketWatch what? I’m sure it’s fine,” I told myself, and completed the order….

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Newsweek: Achieve your New Year’s Resolutions in 2018

“Vague goals can also fail. Be clear in what you want to achieve, rather than just saying you want to lose weight, advises Katherine L. Milkman, who specializes in operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.” Read more here.

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Healthcare Finance: A healthier population will lead to lower healthcare costs, healthcare pros tell Senate panel

Perhaps the simplest way to reduce healthcare costs is to promote a healthier lifestyle among the U.S. population, experts told the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Thursday. The testimony was framed in the context of employer-sponsored health plans, and focused on initiatives employers can take to improve employees’ health and mitigate the financial burden to the healthcare system. Statistics indicate the opportunity for such programs to make a significant difference. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthcare costs represented just 9 percent of gross domestic product in 1980. Flash forward to 2017, and those…

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LDI Symposium Highlights Promising Behavioral Solutions to Public Health Challenges

Earlier this month, our founding partner, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, celebrated 50 years of research with a symposium drawing together some of the brightest minds in health policy. At a panel focused on the potential for behavioral science to influence health care, CHIBE Director Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD joined External Advisory Board member Robert Galvin, MD, Internal Advisory Board member Barbara Kahn, PhD, MBA, MPhil and renowned Duke University behavioral economist Peter Ubel, MD to outline behavioral solutions that address premature mortality in the United States. The panel, moderated by Internal Advisory Board member David Asch, MD,…

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New York Times: NYC calorie rule scrutinized in courts of law, and science

As a court fight simmers over New York City’s pioneering requirement for calorie counts on chain restaurant menus, scientists say the jury’s still out on whether giving people the numbers spurs them to eat healthier. CHIBE’s Christina Roberto says, “It’s unreasonable to say, ‘If this one policy doesn’t reduce obesity, it’s a failure,’ because the chances any one policy will do that are incredibly small.” Read more in the New York Times.

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