SUstainable PREvention of cardioMEtabolic risk through NUDGing (SUPREME NUDGE) (WC2017-072)

SUstainable PREvention of cardioMEtabolic risk through NUDGing (SUPREME NUDGE)

Background

Starting date: 01/07/2017

SUPREME NUDGE (sustainable prevention of cardiometabolic risk through nudging health behaviours)

Targeting the environment in which health behavior choices are made in can reduce cardiometabolic risk. Supermarkets form one of the most important point-of-choice settings with the potential to directly influence purchasing behaviors. ‘Nudges’ (small environmental encouragements) target the quick, automatic choices and do not require conscious decision making, and pricing strategies can seduce consumers to buy healthier alternatives. Such environmental cues can make it easier to initiate and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and as such, to improve cardiometabolic health. In addition, the use of theory-based mobile applications is an effective way to provide tailored and context-specific feedback on physical activity behaviors through the stimulation of ‘goal setting’ and ‘self-management’.

Being incorporated in structures and systems, environmental interventions can make the healthy choice an easy choice for everyone. As such, these types of interventions are especially effective in reaching otherwise difficult-to-reach groups such as people with a lower socioeconomic status (SES). In particular, a combination of ‘nudging’ (targeting automatic behaviors), ‘pricing’ (responding to the price-sensitivity of low income consumers) and tailored physical activity feedback and support (which works better than general education), seems promising for lowering cardiometabolic risk in individuals with low SES. 

Yet, the existing evidence is mostly restricted to short-term effects on (proxies of) health behaviors, and little is known about long-term impact of such integrated interventions on cardiometabolic risk factors. With SUPREME NUDGE we expand a previous successful Dutch supermarket pricing strategy intervention, and incorporate promising elements such as nudging and ICT applications to provide real-time and context-specific physical activity feedback. We will investigate the effects of this approach on dietary behaviors, physical activity and established cardiometabolic risk factors in adults with a lower SES. Using principles from Participatory Action Research and systems thinking, we will consult with the relevant stakeholders to explore options for upscaling and further implementation in society. Outcomes will provide policy- and practice relevant evidence with clear, stepwise and realistic leverage points for helping individuals to maintain healthy behaviors and improve their cardiometabolic health by making the healthy choice the easy choice.