From the 14 November 2014 University of Florida press release:
From the 12 November 2014 University of Florida press release
From the 14 May 2014 Dartmouth College news release
A Dartmouth research laboratory is working to quantify the effects of playing games. In a study published online last month by the Games for Health Journal, Professor Mary Flanagan and her team found that attitudes toward public health issues shift to be more accepting and understanding after playing a game they developed calledRePlay Health.
“Sales of games have been steadily increasing for several years,” says Flanagan, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth and the director of the Tiltfactor laboratory. “So economically, we have measured their impact, and now it’s time to measure their ability to change behaviors and attitudes.”
RePlay Health is a role-playing sport that requires players to assume different identities and carry out various activities to improve their health. The backdrop of the game is a fictional health care system, and the players learn how personal behaviors, workplace productivity, insurance (or lack of it), and all related health care costs are woven together within the system. Each player is presented with opportunities to not only improve their own health, but also the health of their community through policy initiatives that they vote on.
“We showed how active engagement with the game’s characters and events was crucial to the game’s ability to shift players’ mindsets and attitudes about health and health policy,” says Geoff Kaufman, a co-author of the study and Tiltfactor’s post-doctoral researcher in psychology.
The researchers asked a group of young adults to complete an online questionnaire two weeks prior to playing RePlay Health and again within a week after playing the game. Flanagan says that the results indicate that the game has the potential to have a lasting impact on the players.
RePlay Health was developed in collaboration with The Dartmouth Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and the Rippel Foundation. The game is part of a broad initiative to promote learning about public health policies and spending priorities. Flanagan and her team envision college students, medical students, doctors, local council leaders, government officials, and any other people interested broadly in public health playing the game to digest the issues and find ideas that resonate. “It’s not just students and public officials who can play this game, or benefit from playing,” says Flanagan.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Internet lessons and “tailored” text alerts can help some young people adopt healthier lifestyles, according to a national study aimed at preventing weight gain.
Although experimental group students didn’t gain or lose more weight than their control group counterparts, researchers remain hopeful the Internet-message approach can work because it helped college students progress from what researchers call the “contemplative stage” to the “action stage.”
An example of the contemplative stage would be someone who’s thinking about trying to eat fatty foods less frequently, but hasn’t taken action to do so, while someone at the action stage would choose to eat a salad, instead.
In the study, students aged 18-24 received individually targeted messages. Some students were in the “pre-contemplative” stage; others fell into the “action” stage, while others were in various stages between those two.
The study, published online last week in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, found more students who received the Web messages ate more fruits and vegetables and were more physically active than those in the control group.
Researchers weren’t as concerned about students losing weight as they were with giving them strategies to lead healthier lives to prevent weight gain, said Karla Shelnutt, a University of Florida assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences.
This report presents detailed tables from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for the civilian noninstitutionalized adult population, classified by sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, education, current employment status, family income, poverty status, health insurance coverage, marital status, and place and region of residence. Estimates (frequencies and percentages) are presented for selected chronic conditions and mental health characteristics, functional limitations, health status, health behaviors, health care access and utilization, and human immunodeficiency virus testing. Percentages and percent distributions are presented in both age-adjusted and unadjusted versions.
Originally posted on NobodyisFlyingthePlane:
“What we need,” Freudenberg said to me, “is to return to the public sector the right to set health policy and to limit corporations’ freedom to profit at the expense of public health.”
Bittman contributes to the ongoing discussion here at NobodyisFlyingthePlane about how certain industries deflect public discourse from what is best for our citizens to what makes the most profit, no matter the consequences.
The author he quotes poses a series of questions which get at the heart of the matter.
“Shouldn’t science and technology be used to improve human well-being, not to advance business goals that harm health?”
Similarly, we need to be asking not “Do junk food companies have the right to market to children?” but “Do children have the right to a healthy diet?”
Essentially its a PR game. Do we let whole industries spin how the conversation is framed or do we let the…
View original 339 more words
UCR psychologist finds that unrealistic pessimists less likely to take preventive action after receiving good news
IMAGE: This is Kate Sweeny.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Patients who are unrealistically optimistic about their personal health risks are more likely to take preventive action when confronted with news that is worse than expected, while unrealistic pessimists are less likely to change their behavior after receiving feedback that is better than expected, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside and Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.
This poses a serious dilemma for health care professionals, said study authors Kate Sweeny, assistant professor of psychology at UC Riverside, and co-author Amanda Dillard, assistant professor of psychology at Grand Valley State University: Should they withhold accurate risk information from unrealistic pessimists to avoid undermining their perceptions of the severity of their potential consequences and ultimately their motivation for preventive behavior?
“The question reveals a tension between the goals of health-behavior promotion and informed patient decision-making that has plagued researchers in several health domains, most notably with regard to women’s often overly pessimistic perceptions of their breast cancer risk,” Sweeny and Dillard wrote in “The Effects of Expectation Disconfirmation on Appraisal, Affect, and Behavioral Intentions,” published this month in the online edition of Risk Analysis: An International Journal. The journal is an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis, a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, scholarly, international society based in McLean, Va.
“Our findings cannot resolve this tension, but rather point to the need for further consideration of the potential consequences of risk communication,” the researchers said.
Sweeny and Dillard are the first to demonstrate that how an individual reacts and responds to objective risk feedback may depend on initial expectations prior to the feedback.
The psychologists conducted a series of experiments in which participants were told they would be tested for exposure to toxins found in everyday products. The researchers found that people who received risk feedback that was worse than expected expressed stronger intentions to prevent the threat in the future than did people who received risk feedback that was better than expected. All study participants received the same health feedback; only the expectations of the participants differed.
“Our findings add critical pieces to the previously incomplete picture of the consequences of expectation disconfirmation,” they wrote. “Ours is the first experimental investigation of the relationship between expectation disconfirmation and behavioral intentions in the context of personal risk perceptions, and the first study to examine the process by which intentions might rise or fall in response to unexpected risk feedback.”
Contrary to findings in other recent studies, Sweeny and Dillard determined that when people are faced with objective feedback that differs from their perceptions of health risks, they may adapt their behavior to fit the new risk information.
“In our studies, participants who learned that their risk was higher than they expected … formed relative strong intentions to take preventive action,” they said. They also found that people who learned that their risk was lower than expected felt relatively good in the face of feedback and formed relatively weak intentions to take preventive action. All of the study participants received the same health risk feedback.
“Our findings point to an important tradeoff people face when managing their expectations as they await feedback: maintaining optimism leaves people open to disappointment, but bracing for the worst may undermine future motivation to improve,” they said. “… It seems that people find the emotional consequences of being caught off-guard more compelling than the potential for elation to undermine their motivation to change their behavior in response to feedback.”
Many people, whether they know it or not, are philosophical dualists. That is, they believe that the brain and the mind are two separate entities. Despite the fact dualist beliefs are found in virtually all human cultures, surprisingly little is known about the impact of these beliefs on how we think and behave in everyday life. ..
…Across five related studies, researchers Matthias Forstmann, Pascal Burgmer, and Thomas Mussweiler of the University of Cologne, Germany, found that people primed with dualist beliefs had more reckless attitudes toward health and exercise, and also preferred (and ate) a less healthy diet than those who were primed with physicalist beliefs.
Furthermore, they found that the relationship also worked in the other direction. People who were primed with unhealthy behaviors – such as pictures of unhealthy food – reported a stronger dualistic belief than participants who were primed with healthy behaviors.
Overall, the findings from the five studies provide converging evidence demonstrating that mind-body dualism has a noticeable impact on people’s health-related attitudes and behaviors. Specifically, these findings suggest that dualistic beliefs decrease the likelihood of engaging in healthy behavior.
These findings support the researchers’ original hypothesis that the more people perceive their minds and bodies to be distinct entities, the less likely they will be to engage in behaviors that protect their bodies. Bodies are ultimately viewed as a disposable vessel that helps the mind interact with the physical world.
Evidence of a bidirectional relationship further suggests that metaphysical beliefs, such as beliefs in mind-body dualism, may serve as cognitive tools for coping with threatening or harmful situations.
The fact that the simple priming procedures used in the studies had an immediate impact on health-related attitudes and behavior suggests that these procedures may eventually have profound implications for real-life problems. Interventions that reduce dualistic beliefs through priming could be one way to help promote healthier – or less self-damaging – behaviors in at-risk populations.
While I’m not sure if there is a one-to-one relationship between money spent on health care and what will result in healthier individuals…still this is a real eye-opener.
By Nyasha Mboti
University of KwaZulu Natal
Every year many millions of dollars are spent on programmes and strategies to motivate ‘at-risk’ populations to ‘change’ their ‘behaviour’. At issue in this paper is the efficacy of such programmes and strategies. The “2-6-10 slot model” is a simple algorithm I have built to explain some of the seemingly obvious failures of Public Health interventions in Africa targeted at so-called ‘Behaviour Change’, specifically in the domain of HIV and AIDS campaigns. The model is draws on unanswered questions about ‘Behaviour Change’ programmes and strategies and is meant to be a critical commentary on the strategic assumptions of such programmes. In building the model, I argue that the notion of ‘Behaviour Change’ is too vague, sometimes to the point of uselessness. As such, the model asks the questions that public health opinion leaders seldom or never ask. The 2-6-10 slot model focuses on the interventions targeted at so-called ‘multi-partnerism’ and the efforts to motivate people to ‘stick to one partner’. It uses ‘slots’ to describe, characterise and reflect on the gaps that conventional Public Health strategies have failed to explain or fill. The model suggests the adoption of more evidence-based modelling of Public Health strategies as opposed to ones that are largely assumption-led. The 2-6-10 slot model is so-called because it comprises of diagrams, or empty slots, that begin at 2 and increase to 6, 10 and so on. The increase in slots represents the increase in failure of a respective public health intervention.
Four health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are responsible for much of the illness and death related to chronic diseases. Seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases.1 Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.1
A new CDC report finds that people can live longer if they practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors— not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and limiting alcohol consumption.2 Not smoking provides the most protection from dying early from all causes.
People who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 66 percent less likely to die early from cancer, 65 percent less likely to die early from cardiovascular disease, and 57 percent less likely to die early from other causes compared to people who did not engage in any of the healthy behaviors.2
CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money to have a more secure nation. A US federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.