Commenting on the new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for professionals on how to help people change their behaviour to live healthier lives, Dr Karen Jochelson, Senior Fellow in Public Health at the King's Fund said:
'This new advice from NICE on the principles and best practice of how to help people change their everyday behaviour and live healthier lives is extremely welcome.
'A King's Fund report, Our Future Health Secured? A review of NHS funding and performance, published this September found that unhealthy lifestyles threaten the long-term sustainability of the NHS. While there have been improvements in some areas such as reducing smoking, rates of obesity and related illnesses are increasing because of poor progress on improving the nation’s diet and physical exercise levels. Preventing poor health and helping people manage chronic diseases are key to reducing health costs and improving the quality of people's lives.
'This guidance affirms the need for change at many different levels of society. Legislation and regulation need to be supported by better information and programmes tailored to help individuals change. There is no single magic bullet – we need a multi-faceted approach.
'Public health programmes should not blame individuals or accuse them of ignorance. We must start with individuals' personal skills and confidence, and help them to make changes that make sense to them. For instance, people should be made aware of what triggers their unhealthy behaviour and then helped to develop solutions together with plans for what to do if they relapse.'
Read our report: Our Future Health Secured? A review of NHS funding and performance,
Notes to editors:
- Our Future Health Secured? A review of NHS funding and performance was published in September 2007 and is available free to download.
- In 2008 the King’s Fund is undertaking a programme of work looking at the specific role of NHS organisations in changing public health behaviour in terms of how much they can achieve and where their efforts should best be focused. The project aims to bring together expert academics, practitioners, managers and researchers from the public, voluntary and private sectors to crystallise what effective, affordable action might be practically taken by the NHS to improve public health outcomes. It will look at what motivates change, interventions for low socio-economic groups and the role of financial incentives, among other things.
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- The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities