1002.0 Nudges: Changing Behavior through Healthy Choice Architecture

Saturday, November 6, 2010: 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
LI Course
CE Hours: 3 contact hours
Statement of Purpose and Institute Overview: The purpose of this Institute is to explore the potential of “nudges” (small cues that help us make decisions) to positively influence people’s health behaviors and increase the efficacy of health education. It will share nudge ideas, interactively explore the consequences of various health nudges, and give educators new tools to work with “choice architects” who can design policies, programs, and places to make healthy choices easier. Health education programs are often predicated on the assumption that knowing why something is good for us will motivate behavior change. We often believe individuals will make rational decisions to improve their health behavior because the information we share with them demonstrates the positive outcomes associated with healthy behaviors. Yet, helping people achieve health behaviors such as losing weight, eating more healthfully, or quitting smoking remain challenging. Many small, often undetectable nudges influence our behavior every day: some planned (the decision to hold recess before lunch), others seemingly random (the order of food items on the cafeteria line) and some carefully researched and designed to influence unhealthy behavior (increasing the size and value of food packaging). Decisions about place, program, or policy design have the potential to nudge people towards healthier behavior. As noted in the bestselling behavioral economics book Nudge, the concepts of nudging and choice architecture have great potential in health programming. Educators often work with individuals and groups who, as choice architects, influence the decision-making of others: health practitioners, parents, teachers, policymakers, grocery managers, employers, etc. One key activity in this workshop will demonstrate the many potential consequences of program, policy, and environmental design. This interactive workshop will demonstrate how changes in the food stamp program have the potential to change individual’s food shopping behaviors. Participants will take a simulated grocery shopping trip using a food stamp program with one of seven sets of rules that reflect default, paternalist, immediate incentive, delayed incentive, education, planning ahead, and social comparison nudges. As a group, participants will share the consequences that these seven designs had on the kind and quantity of food they purchased. Participants will then consider how nudges may be applied in community settings such as school cafeterias, workplaces, hospitals, homes, social service agencies, etc. Utilizing nudging and choice architecture may increase the reach and efficacy of health education efforts. When combined with individual education, health nudges may improve the chances that individuals and communities make and perpetuate healthy decisions.
Session Objectives: Participants will describe basic concepts of behavioral economics and behavioral psychology that are relevant to health education, evaluate the ways that rational decision making may not change health behaviors, and compare examples of health nudges and choice architects in their own programming. Participants will identify the ways in which program/policy design can influence different health behavior outcomes during an interactive activity in which they experience the impact of hypothetical changes to the food stamp program. Participants will formulate ways in which they can help choice architects such as teachers, parents, employers, nurses, etc. design or redesign places, programs, or policies to make health easier for others to perform.

Wrap-up; Q&A. T. Stevenson, MS and S. Grutzmacher, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: APHA-Learning Institute (APHA-LI)

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)