Could the evolutionary mismatch concept help to generate interest in health promotion interventions?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

Abstract

Background: Generating interest in health interventions is an important first step towards promoting engagement with interventions and effecting behaviour change. However, it has proved difficult to do as people often perceive health messages as conflicting, irrelevant or confusing, leading to scepticism or resistance. The evolutionary mismatch concept could provide a useful framework for delivering comprehensive health information in an interesting and non-judgemental way, through explaining our predisposition to chronic diseases through the mismatch between our genes and current lifestyles.
Aim: To explore whether framing health promotion information about physical activity and diet from an evolutionary perspective could help to generate interest in a health intervention.
Method: Eighteen overweight and/or inactive adults were shown a variety of evolutionary-framed health information resources (text and graphics) in interviews and discussed their perceptions and understanding of each at the time and, in questionnaires, one week later. Data were thematically analysed.
Results: Participants found the evolutionary perspective to be novel, believable and interesting. It also seemed to provide a meaningful rationale for behaviour change. Potential counter-arguments and unintended interpretations were also raised by a few participants, however these did not lead them to reject the health messages and the majority of participants reported that the resources had prompted them to think about making behaviour changes after the interviews.
Conclusions: Using an evolutionary perspective to frame health promotion information can help to generate interest in an intervention, which could in turn increase engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2016
EventAnnual General Meeting of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine - Cardiff, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Dec 20162 Dec 2016
Conference number: 12th

Conference

ConferenceAnnual General Meeting of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine
CountryUK United Kingdom
CityCardiff
Period1/12/162/12/16

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Grey, E., Gillison, F., & Thompson, D. (2016). Could the evolutionary mismatch concept help to generate interest in health promotion interventions?. Annual General Meeting of the UK Society for Behavioural Medicine, Cardiff, UK United Kingdom.