Behavior Change: The Blockbuster Drug of the 21st Century

Personal decisions about smoking, diet, and exercise play a huge role in chronic illness, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. These epidemics push up mortality levels, compromise quality of life, and contribute to rising healthcare costs, with the toll hitting low- and middle-income countries hardest. Clearly, what we’re doing around the world to curb risky behaviors and promote positive choices isn’t enough. To complement our vast investments in precision medicine and other futuristic science, more resources are needed to encourage behavior change. Would a more custom-tailored approach have more influence? Should we emphasize messages of hope and purpose rather than fear? Can we develop a drug that gives people the willpower to make better choices?

Festival: Spotlight Health 2015

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