Empowering towards Healthy Behaviours

Introductory speakers: Joint presentation by: Dr. Pilvikki Absetz, Research Director (University of Eastern Finland, UEF), Adjunct Professor of Health Promotion (University of Tampere, UTA), CEO (Collaborative Care Systems Finland, CCSF) Michael Quarshie, CEO and Co-Founder, Wellness Foundry

About the workshop:

The majority of the public health interventions today, including many of the national nutrition recommendations and guidelines, are heavily focused on advising and creating awareness – the focus being on the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’. Yet, evidence clearly shows that awareness alone is not enough to change behavior, let alone sustain it over a life-time. For this, we need a combination of approaches or strategies that could together create a catalytic reaction to change, with a potential to be sustained. These include:

  • A constructive and supportive social environment that empowers children and their care givers, thereby enhancing their autonomy
  • Fulfillment of  knowledge and skills requirements needed to make the change
  • An enabling physical environment that makes the change possible
  • Supportive technology to aid in the process of behavior change
  • Integrated efforts from multiple actors such as municipalities, schools, retailers, parents, healthcare and civil society human behaviours occur in a continuum

In this workshop we will discuss what strategies and partnerships are needed to better help people change or maintain healthy behaviors and the initial steps we can take towards achieving this goal. We will depart from some real-life examples as a basis for our discussion.

We will look at 1) what is needed to implement approaches or strategies that empower individuals and improve their autonomy, 2) what kind of multi-sectoral and practical partnerships we need to make this work, 3) how technology and eHealth services can better meet user needs.

All this will be discussed in the context of three settings: rural and urban populations in low-middle-income countries; and vulnerable populations in high income countries.

Workshop prepared by: Dr. Meena Daivadanam, Senior Lecturer, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, Uppsala University;  Jo Anne Dahl, Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Åsa Cajander, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Dept. of Information Technology, Uppsala University; and Isto Huvila, Professor, Library and Information Science, Dept. of ALM, Uppsala University