Action Line 'Prevention'

Researchers and projects in the Action Line 'Prevention'
Hardloper bij de Rotte

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

We all suffer from a gap between planning and doing: we make plans that we fail to carry out. This gap does not prove that we fail to do the right things - maybe we just fail to make the right plans. Ironically, the first step towards closing the gap is to realize that we cannot escape from it.

Kirsten Rohde, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, is interested in helping people take responsibility for their own futures. Many of us suffer from a gap between planning and doing. This gap is the result of an ongoing struggle between our different selves. The talk shows that both our current and our future selves have a role when closing this gap. The current self needs to make realistic plans and the future self has to carry out these plans.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Towards a better understanding of the intention-behaviour gap

Research in a Nutshell print

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 leaders of this Action Line, Georg Granic and Joost Oude Groeniger.

Georg Granic is Assistant Professor at the department of Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics.

Joost Oude Groeniger is Assistant professor at the department of Sociology at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

 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 pursues a PhD at the Department of Public Health at the Erasmus Medical Center. In her research she combines theories, strategies and methodologies of health behavior change in health psychology and behavioral economics to design, implement and evaluate a randomized m-health intervention that aims to improve the cardiovascular health and well-being of women with an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Her main research interests are primary prevention, mental health, and m-health interventions. She is supervised by Prof. dr. Lex Burdorf from the Department of Public Health at the Erasmus Medical Center, and by Prof. dr. Hans van Kippersluis from Applied Economics at the Erasmus School of Economics.

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.

Elisa de Weerd is a PhD Candidate at the Erasmus School of Economics and the Tinbergen Institute, and is supervised by Prof. dr. Hans van Kippersluis (Erasmus School of Economics) and Prof. dr. John Cawley (Cornell University). Her research is on the economics of risky health behaviours. Her research interests include the economics of health, behaviour, crime and education.

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 behaviours, in particular the economic causes and consequences of obesity, as well as economic approaches for improving diet and physical activity. 

Read more about Martin Hagger on his personal website.

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

Read more about the researchers of 'Prevention'

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