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When Are "Healthy Foods" Actually Healthy? Deciphering Health Claims

featured / public health / health communication / behavioral change / blog
In honor of National Public Health Week, it is important to consider the value of a healthy diet. Healthy eating is important for maintaining a healthy body weight, preventing many diseases, and keeping people feeling good and energized throughout the day. Most people agree that having a healthy diet sounds great in theory. However, consumers often report confusion regarding which foods are healthy and what “healthy” even means. It can be difficult to decipher all the health claims out there, many of which can seem confusing or contradictory. This forces consumers to have to answer questions such as:
  • Should I eat a plant-based diet, like vegan or vegetarian, where much of my protein intake comes from nuts,... more
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Can Wearable Fitness Trackers Help Meet Physical Activity Goals?

featured / blog / health / technology / behavioral change

Wearables, Fitness Trackers, Fors Marsh Group, New Year’s Resolution

Similar to in years past, weight loss behaviors such as diet and exercise are among the most popular New Year’s resolutions in 2018. But in order to increase their exercise behaviors successfully, people must be able to accurately measure their exercise. Unfortunately, most of us are notoriously bad at doing this ourselves. Research shows that people often overestimate their exercise intensity, frequency, duration, and calories burned from activity. Therefore, there is a need for easy, affordable ways to assess physical activity accurately—both for individuals hoping to improve their health and for scientists studying physical activity.... more
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The Formidable Journey to Quality Healthcare for All

featured / public health / health communication / behavioral change
Early April in D.C. typically marks cherry blossom season; however this year’s early bloom means we’re freed up to celebrate other important events like National Public Health Week. While it may not be as festive, NPHW is a time of year to recognize not only what we’ve accomplished in public health but also what is left to be done. This year’s theme, to “make the U.S. the healthiest Nation in One Generation,” establishes a vision for vastly improving the health of our country by 2030. Achieving this vision requires not only transformation in the policy and structure of our healthcare system but also health behavior change at the community, family and individual level. One objective of this vision is to achieve "quality healthcare... more
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Designing for Behavioral Change

behavioral change / qualitative research / user experience / featured

A few years ago, I was shopping for a birthday card for a good friend - a fellow psychology nerd, I should add - and after sifting through hundreds (no exaggeration!) of contenders, I finally stumbled across "the one". The front read, "How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?" and inside was the classic "…Just the one, but the bulb has to really want to change. Happy Birthday!" I remember chuckling to myself and ending my search there, knowing (or at least hoping) my friend would appreciate my find. Looking back though, a thought occurs to me - good thing she wasn't studying to become a behavioral scientist!

While intrinsic motivation is certainly influential and at the core of many behavior... more

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