A sober look at healthy behaviour
Koos van der Velden
- Publisher: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau
Original title: Een nuchtere kijk op gezond gedrag. Public health would improve markedly if people lived a healthier lifestyle. With this in mind, the focus of prevention policy in the Netherlands has come to lie more and more on high-risk lifestyle attributes such as smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and excessive alcohol consumption. Discouraging the use of tobacco has proved successful, but what about other forms of unhealthy behaviour? Do these require a different kind of discouragement, for example with a greater role for industry or local government? Does today's assertive citizen actually take any notice of government information campaigns? A reflection on the principles underlying health promotion would appear to be in order, and this publication accordingly discusses four questions: 1. Is learning to live a healthy lifestyle an alternative to government-imposed measures? 2. How do citizens deal with the flood of information on health risks? 3. What opportunities are there for health promotion at local level? 4. What role could the private sector play? This publication briefly describes the current status with regard to each of these themes. The authors then engage in a debate with experts who have developed appealing approaches to this subject. The concluding section identifies the common thread running through these approaches and explores how health could be promoted in the future in an inspiring way.