Cultural adaptation to promote and maintain healthy lifestyle


  • T. Sagiv-Schifter
  • R. Jacoby


Health behavior is currently a major concern addressed by scholars, practitioners and policy makers around the world. The understanding that improving health behavior on the individual level as well as on the societal level may contribute to improvement in health, wellbeing, quality of life and prolonged life expectancy led to proliferation of initiatives, programs, and interventions all aimed at achieving the aspired goal of health behavior change. However, despite the importance of such programs their effects are rather limited overall. Recent evaluations of programs to promote physical activity and healthy diet have found only small to medium effect sizes (e.g. Anderson et al., 2009; Eakin, Lawler, Vandelanotte, & Owen, 2007; Kroeze, Werkman, & Brug, 2006; Norman et al., 2007; van Sluijs, van Poppel, & van Mechelen, 2004). Thus, the "Why?" question is inevitable - Why is it that despite the massive efforts and spending involved, programs developed worldwide have not succeeded to bring about significant change in health behavior? We suggest that current models tend to focus on the individual level while lacking thorough consideration of social and cultural attributes that influence people's health behavior. In our paper we wish to present and discuss a conceptual model, based on the Health Action Process Approach (Schwartzer, 1992), for culturally adapted lifestyle public policy and intervention programs. We believe it has the potential to promote success of efforts to increase healthy lifestyle adoption and preservation.





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