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Lifestyle changes won't work

19th July 2011

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has said government plans to get people to have healthier lifestyles will not succeed unless they are legislated.

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The Committee said MPs appeared to have made a mistake in using something called nudge theory.

The idea of nudge theory is to prompt people to alter their lifestyles without using bans on particular lifestyle choices.

Both David Cameron and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley are believed to be supporters of the theory.

The theory made up a large portion of government's public health strategy.

The cross-party committee of peers said the government could be confused about how nudge theory could actually be used.

The committee's report said an independent social scientist should be appointed to give the government "robust" advice.

Committee chairman Baroness Neuberger said: "There are all manner of things that the government want us to do - lose weight, give up smoking, use the car less, give blood - but how can they get us to do them?"

"It won't be easy and this inquiry has shown that it certainly won't be achieved through using nudges, or any other sort of intervention, in isolation." 

 

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