How can we induce healthy behaviour?
Researchers and projects in the Action Line 'Prevention'

Action Line 'Prevention'

Health risks can be substantially reduced by living healthy lives and by participating in screening and vaccination programs. Yet, many people fail to do so. Why? Do they misperceive their health risks due to cognitive limitations or social influences? Or do they know that they are at risk, but procrastinate healthy behaviour due to a lack of self-control? A multitude of possible explanations is available, but despite abundant literature across multiple disciplines, the causes of unhealthy behaviour are poorly understood, and sustainable interventions that induce healthier behaviour are woefully lacking. To design effective interventions understanding the human mind is crucial. Hence, the goal of this action line is to identify the most promising interventions to induce healthy behaviour, focusing on incentives or nudges that are sustainable and cost-effective.

The gap between planning and doing | Kirsten Rohde | TEDxErasmusUniversity

Challenge Accepted - Hans van Kippersluis

What is public health? Three revolutionary ideas that have changed the world.

Working together is better for your health - Lex Burdorf at TedX

  • Read more about the steering group members: Alex Burdorf, Johan Mackenbach and Kirsten Rohde.

    • Alex Burdorf is head of the Department of Public Health at Erasmus MC. As a Professor he is fascinated by the large health inequalities around the world as well as in Rotterdam. Through his studies he tries to understand which factors are driving these health inequalities, which programmes and interventions are required to improve population health for all persons, and how we can use observational data to evaluate effectiveness of policies and programmes. His particular interest is how and when paid employment can contribute to a better health.

    • Johan Mackenbach is Professor of Public Health at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus MC. He is also honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is involved with two Action Lines of the Smarter Choices initiative: Prevention and Health Inequalities. His research interests are in social epidemiology, medical demography and health policy. He has (co-)authored more than 700 papers in international, peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as a number of books. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Academia Europaea.

    • Kirsten Rohde is Professor of Behavioral Economics at Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), fellow of the Tinbergen Institute, and member of ERIM (Erasmus Research Institute in Management). She is an expert on intertemporal choice, a field of decision theory that analyses the tradeoffs people make between the present and the future. Intertemporal choice plays an important role in health behavior and prevention. Other research interests include concerns for equality and social preferences, and decisions under risk. Kirsten is associate editor at the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. She teaches in the Bachelor Program Economics and Business Economics and in the Master Specialization Behavioral Economics at ESE.

  • Read more about the leader of this Action Line, Hans Kippersluis.

    • Hans van Kippersluis is Professor of Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics. He coordinates the Action Line Prevention, which aims to combine insights from psychology and (behavioral) economics to design sustainable interventions for healthy behavior. More generally, he is interested in the formation of human capital (health, education), the relative role of nature and nurture in shaping human capital, and how policies and interventions can encourage individuals to invest in their human capital through schooling and healthy behavior.

  •  Read more about the postdoctoral researchers of the Action Line 'Prevention'.

    • Anne Wijtzes is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus Medical Center. Her research interests include social and gender-specific epidemiology, health promotion, and health behaviors. In addition to her work in the Smarter Choices for Better Health Initiative, she is currently involved in a multidisciplinary research project that aims to increase the cardiovascular health of women with an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

  • Read more about the PhD candidates in the Action Line Prevention: Nienke Boderie, Diarmaid Ó Ceallaigh, Lili Kókai and Tim van Meurs.

    • Nienke Boderie is a PhD candidate at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus Medical Center. Her main research topic is the PERSIST trial, in which she investigates the effect of personalized incentives in combination with group-based training on sustained abstinence. Besides (improving) smoking cessation her interest are socio-economic differences, incentives and behavior change.

    • Diarmaid Ó Ceallaigh is a PhD candidate at Erasmus School of Economics, supervised by Prof. dr. Hans van Kippersluis and Prof. dr. Kirsten Rohde.  The research project seeks to design sustainable interventions to encourage preventive health behaviors, such as physical activity and diet, by combining insights from behavioral economics and health psychology.  His broader research interests are in the areas of health, behavioral and experimental economics.

    • Lili Kókai is a PhD candidate at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus Medical Center, supervised by Prof. dr. Johan Mackenbach from the same department, and Prof dr. Hans van Kippersluis from Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics. In her research she compares theories, strategies and methodologies of health behavior change between health psychology and behavioral economics to inform the design of a randomized controlled trial that will aim to improve the well-being and cardiovascular health of women with an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Her research interests include prevention, mental health, and (health) behavior change interventions.

    • Tim van Meurs is a PhD candidate at the Sociology department of the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, supervised by Prof. Jeroen van der Waal and Dr. Willem de Koster. His project studies the role of deeply-ingrained anti-elitism amongst low SES-individuals in their lower uptake of health information. While the main focus of the project is on nutritional information, information regarding smoking is also assessed. This project connects with Tim’s interest in the cultural-sociological study of stratification.

  • Read more about our affiliated researchers: Jasper V. Been, Han Bleichrodt, John Cawley, Martin Hagger, Willem de Koster, Frank J. van Lenthe and Jeroen van der Waal.

    • Jasper V. Been is an Associate Professor and Consultant Neonatologist the Sophia Children's Hospital at Erasmus Medical Center. He is also a Research Fellow, Usher Institute, The University of Edinburgh; and an Associate Editor, npj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine journal. Topics of his researches are exploring causal mechanisms underlying early-life health inequalities (Action Line Health Equity) and investigating the effectiveness of personalized incentives to promote sustained smoking cessation (Action Line Prevention). His specific research interests are perinatal public health and tobacco control.

    • Han Bleichrodt is Professor of Behavioral Economics at Erasmus School of Economics and at the Australian National University, Canberra. His research interests are decision under uncertainty and over time with a special focus on decisions involving health.

    • John Cawley is a Visiting Professor at Erasmus School of Economics, and is a Professor of Policy Analysis & Management, and of Economics, at Cornell University, where he co-directs the Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors, and Disparities. He is an editor of the Journal of Health Economics and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon). His research focuses on the economics of risky health behaviors, in particular the economic causes and consequences of obesity, as well as economic approaches for improving diet and physical activity. 

    • Willem de Koster is Associate Professor of Cultural Sociology in the Department of Public Administration and Sociology. Willem serves as co-promotor of PhD candidate Tim van Meurs, who studies how aversion to perceived cultural elitism hampers the uptake of health information by low SES individuals, and how this can be used to improve targeted health promotion campaigns. As a cultural sociologist, Willem more generally analyzes how different social groups give meaning to social issues, how this informs their actions and how it shapes their responses to new information and their (urban) environment.

    • Frank J. van Lenthe is Professor of Social Epidemiology at the Department of Public Health at Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam (0.8 fte) and Professor of Spatial Diversity and Inequality in Urban Health at the Department of Social Geography and Spatial Planning of Utrecht University (0.2 fte).

      His research focuses on the explanation of individual and area-based socioeconomic inequalities in health and health behavior, as well as the effects of natural policy experiments aimed at reducing health inequalities.

    • Jeroen van der Waal is Professor of Sociology of Stratification in the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His main research aims to explain why social stratification is linked to health outcomes and political attitudes and behaviors in western countries. He supervises PhD student Tim van Meurs in the project how to provide health information to those who need it most.

      Read more about Van der Waal's work on www.jeroenvanderwaal.com.

Read more about the researchers of 'Prevention'

"Food impacts us in so many ways: biologically, psychologically, socially"

Blogpost

PhD candidate Lili Kókai is working on an innovative intervention to induce healthy behaviour in populations with elevated cardiovascular disease risk.

‘Our goal with this Initiative is to help society make better and smarter choices in the field of healthcare’

Blogpost

Why do some people live healthy while others don’t? For Smarter Choices for Better Health Associate Professor in Health Economics Hans van Kippersluis collaborates with different faculties.

Insurance company rewards for good behaviour

In the media

Kirsten Rohde participated in a discussion on the fact that insurance company ASR is going to reward its customers who engage in physical activity more often.