New insights and novel interventions to steer youth toward healthy behaviors - Drawing from disciplines seemingly distant from health
Purpose: To compare the use of consumerism and altruism as drivers of individual and aggregate health behaviour change in youth. Background: Consumerism has been identified as a key element in the etiologies of poor eating habits and sedentary behaviour. There is a growing body of evidence identifying altruism as a powerful, and heritable, force in shaping individual and group behaviour, particularly in relation to charity, political movements, conforming to social norms. The contemporary global shift in attitudes towards carbon emissions and global warming indicates that environmental concerns can drive behaviour change en mass. The recent and ongoing popularity of school-based food gardens presents a pertinent example of how health behaviour can be aligned with this global phenomenon, without health necessarily being the primary objective. Key points: The diversity of approaches presented in this symposium reveals an apparent dichotomy between consumerism and altruism as motivators of health behaviour change. The alignment of health outcomes with growing concerns for the environment, through activities such as sustainable agriculture and community gardening, presents substantial opportunities for nutrition and physical activity promotion. Conclusions: Altruism provides an interesting counterpoint to consumerism as a motivator for health behaviour change in youth.
International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting Proceedings