31 January 2014

NICE guidance on behaviour change

NICE guidance on behaviour change

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published guidance on behaviour change.

This guidance is for all those involved in helping people to change their behaviour. It is particularly aimed at those who commission, design, investigate and deliver interventions to help people change their behaviour – or who encourage or support behaviour change as part of their role. This includes those who provide training on behaviour change. The guidance may also be of interest to policy makers and researchers, as well as people who want to change their behaviour.

This guidance makes recommendations on individual-level interventions aimed at changing health-damaging behaviours among people aged 16 or over. It includes a range of approaches, from single interventions delivered as the opportunity arises to planned, high-intensity interventions that may take place over a number of sessions.

The behaviours covered include physical activity; however the recommendations may also apply to behaviour change related to other health issues. The recommendations are inter-linked and should be implemented together. They cover:

  • policy and strategy
  • commissioning
  • planning
  • delivery
  • training and evaluation of individual-level behaviour change interventions.

They also cover behaviour change techniques, the maintenance of change and organisational and national support.

In 2011, the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee reviewed a range of factors that impact on behaviour change. In its final report, the Committee recommended that NICE should update its guidance on the topic; in particular it wanted, 'more explicit advice on how behaviour change techniques could be applied to reduce obesity, alcohol abuse and smoking'.

Download: Behaviour change: individual approaches