UK Professor advocates rewards and positive feedback, not lectures for healthier behaviors.

The UK’s new government is taking a hard look at improving the health of its citizens. While the intentions of this new campaign might be positive at its core, in an article for the BBC, Professor Richard Ashcroft argues that if the strategy for communicating healthy habits to people doesn’t change, the effort will not be particularly effective. Ashcroft talks about how new research increasingly documents that people do not act rationally. Even if we know the long-term impact that eating junk-food has on our health, we will still eat the junk-food because of the instant satisfaction it provides. Health campaigns that focus on the negative consequences of bad habits do not speak to the part of our brains that react to immediate desires.

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