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20 per cent fewer calories by 2024: the new target from Public Health England

One in three children is leaving primary school overweight or obese. Last week we wrote about the launch of a new programme by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity that aims to change this fact. Today Public Health England added to the calls for action by revealing that children are consuming between 140 and 500 excess […]

March 6, 2018

Tackling inner-city childhood obesity

This week saw the launch of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity’s report; ‘Bite Size: Breaking down the challenge of inner-city childhood obesity.’ Rising childhood obesity is often seen as a classic wicked issue, rising inexorably around the world year after year. It also varies by geographical area and social class, cruelly concentrated in the most […]

March 2, 2018

When should you bring a child to hospital?

There are obvious answers. Any child should go to an emergency department if they’ve been knocked unconscious or are struggling to breath. For less serious problems, like broken bones and infections, they can go to minor injuries units and urgent care centres. However, the majority of children do not attend paediatric emergency departments (PED) because […]

December 19, 2017

Rethinking public health using behavioural science

How could – and should – findings from behavioural science make us approach public health differently? This week, BIT offered a provocative answer to this question in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. It was also a question addressed by over 100 academics and practitioners at a recent workshop organised by BIT and Harvard’s Behavioral Insights […]

August 23, 2017

Going global: A new report on applying behavioural insights to health

Testing for diabetes can be a pain. The cheapest and most effective test requires people to fast for up to 10 hours beforehand. And if people lack any symptoms, they may also have little awareness or motivation to get tested in a timely way. The result can be higher care costs and worse patient outcomes. […]

November 30, 2016

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