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Counting Calories: A new report from BIT on the problems with official statistics on calorie intake, and how they can be solved

Without reliable statistics, we can’t know what progress we are making towards achieving our societal goals. If we are trying to improve educational outcomes, we need to know how pupils are performing. If we want to cut down congestion, we need to understand how busy the roads are. And if we want to reduce obesity, […]

August 8, 2016


Behavioural Insights and Healthier Lives: our new report with VicHealth

Public health is about as behavioural as it gets. The leading causes of death are dominated by behavioural and lifestyle factors: smoking, diet, alcohol consumption, accidents, but also more subtle behavioural factors such as how we relate to and support each other. The Australians have long been seen as leaders in public health. They led […]

April 29, 2016


Five factors for supporting people to take a more active role in health and wellbeing

Today we launch a report, as part of the Realising the Value consortium, that aims to show how people themselves can take more active roles in their own health and care. They, along with their communities, can create self-care routines which boost health and wellbeing. The potential value of this approach is often underappreciated by […]

March 22, 2016


Sugar tax: how will it affect behaviour?

One of the most striking announcements in this week’s UK budget was the introduction of a new ‘soft drinks levy’ (quickly dubbed the sugar tax), which will come into force in 2018. New taxes aren’t usually associated with the Behavioural Insights Team – partly because BIT’s preference is to find simpler, non-regulatory solutions before reaching […]

March 18, 2016


People: peers, pain and power

One of the most fascinating and important areas in life is surely the fine line between wanting to help, and being wary of, those around us. It’s a tension woven deeply into policy and into our humanity. Recently I had one of those afternoons where an accident of meetings seemed to tell this story especially […]

February 26, 2016


How can text messages encourage people to see a doctor?

If you haven’t seen a doctor in a long time, the thought of picking up the phone to schedule an appointment can be terrifying. Sometimes it’s easier to adopt an “out of sight out of mind” mentality. However, the people who haven’t seen a doctor in years are the ones most likely to benefit from […]

February 22, 2016


Reducing antibiotic prescribing: a new BIT study published in The Lancet

The growth of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the major health challenges of our time. The UK’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance has forecast that AMR will result in 10 million deaths and $100 trillion in unachieved GDP a year by 2050. One of the main causes of resistance is the use of antibiotics when […]

February 19, 2016


Reducing missed appointments

One in ten hospital outpatient appointments is missed – people don’t turn up, and don’t cancel or rearrange in advance. That’s 5.5 million appointments every year in England alone. Missed appointments lead to people not getting the care they need, when they need it. They also lead to costs to the NHS, some of which […]

October 22, 2015


Reducing errors in medical decision-making

“Sarah, can you hear me?” The patient lies on the trolley, silent and grey. The doctor bends over her with growing concern. Now he feels no pulse, no breathing – and a once innocuous situation has slipped into crisis. Professional instinct takes over: with a pull of a lever, the bed slams flat for CPR; […]

August 4, 2015


Is Christmas ever good for your health?

Most people are not expecting to get healthier over the festive period, with Christmas parties, Christmas lunch and New Years’ parties serving to prepare us for an inevitable January of diets and new gym memberships. New research, however, suggests that Christmas may be better for your physical health than you think. Previous research by Elizabeth […]

December 23, 2014