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Nudge theory and public health: what can we learn from the British experience?


19 May 2015: UK public health leader Professor Mike Kelly delivered a presentation at a public forum jointly hosted by The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and the Hospital Alliance for Research Collaboration (HARC).

More than 120 people attended the forum, at which local presenters focused on the Australian experience of nudge theory. Mr Simon Raadsma, Senior Policy Officer in the Behavioural Insights Unit (BHI) in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, presented case studies of the BHI’s work applying behavioural insights in NSW. Professor Mike Woods, Professor of Health Economics at the Centre for Health Economics Research and
Evaluation at UTS, looked at the economic basis of nudge theory.

To view Professor Kelly’s presentation, click here.

 

Photo gallery

19 May 2015: UK public health leader Professor Mike Kelly delivered a presentation at a public forum jointly hosted by The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and the Hospital Alliance for Research Collaboration (HARC).

More than 120 people attended the forum, at which local presenters focused on the Australian experience of nudge theory. Mr Simon Raadsma, Senior Policy Officer in the Behavioural Insights Unit (BHI) in the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, presented case studies of the BHI’s work applying behavioural insights in NSW. Professor Mike Woods, Professor of Health Economics at the Centre for Health Economics Research and
Evaluation at UTS, looked at the economic basis of nudge theory.

To view Professor Kelly’s presentation, click here.

 

Photo gallery

When the Coalition Government came to office in the UK in 2010, the Secretary of State for Health indicated one of the principles that would govern the new government’s approach to public health would be the application of nudge theory. Nudge theory is based on the idea that people can make healthier decisions without losing their freedom of choice if those choices are made easier and require little effort. For example, putting fruit at eye level in a cafeteria is a nudge.

Professor Kelly will consider the origins of nudge theory in psychology and behavioural economics and describe UK research to develop the application of the evidence base about nudge and nudging. He will describe examples of the application of nudge theory to aspects of public health policy. He will also consider the role of nudge theory in contemporary understanding of behaviour change, the role of behaviour in the prevention of the epidemics of obesity, heart disease and cancer, and the ways in which deeply embedded social behaviours like eating, consuming alcohol and physical activity are amenable to nudging.

Professor Kelly will conclude by discussing the ways in which choice architecture is influential in cueing behaviour in microenvironments like pubs and restaurants and examine whether physical or social environments are the most important cues to action. He will also describe the implications for inequalities in health.

Professor Mike Kelly, Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, was Director of the Centre for Public Health at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) from 2005-2014. His research interests are in evidence-based approaches to health improvement. From 2005-2008, he was the co-leader of the Measurement and Evidence Knowledge Network of the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. Originally trained in Sociology and Economics, in York and Leicester, he undertook his doctorate in the department of Psychiatry at the University of Dundee. Before moving to the National Health Service in 2000, he taught at the Universities of Leicester, Abertay, Dundee, Glasgow and Greenwich. In 2010 he was awarded the Alwyn Smith Prize of the Faculty of Public Health in recognition of his work on cardiovascular disease and alcohol misuse prevention