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Behavior Change and “Lifestyle Disease” Era


Scientific progress and advancements in society have significantly changed the way human beings live their lives. This situation has resulted in numerous lifestyle diseases. Many countries have over the years been able to eradicate and eliminate some of the diseases that existed initially. However, lifestyle diseases have been around for some time. These diseases are mainly caused by human behavior. Lifestyle diseases include; diabetes, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, and heart diseases (ICSI, 2011). Consequently, there are concerns over ways of treating these diseases. One of the suggestions on the ways of overcoming these lifestyle diseases has been behavior change. This paper explores behavior change as a way of preventing lifestyle diseases.

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Argument for

According to the WHO report of 2009, a healthy lifestyle is becoming overwhelmingly critical worldwide. In its research conducted in Iran, the WHO concluded that changes in lifestyle diets and the levels of physical activity significantly improve the health of people. The government introduced a project called ‘A Healthy Heart’ where they used mass media and several activities that entailed a lifestyle change. The government used the mass media in creating awareness among the people on healthy nutrition. Additionally, there was the education of the people on food labels, healthy snacks especially in learning institutions, and introduction of half portions in the fast-food restaurants (WHO, 2009).

In order to encourage physical activity among the people, the government introduced built-in lanes for bicycles in the cities. The government also announced automobile-free days. In all the working places, smoking was entirely banned. These activities were aimed at encouraging people to change their lifestyles. Practically, these changes reduce the risks of lifestyle-related diseases. From their report, the WHO states that a 30 minutes walk daily reduces the risk of heart attack by about 50%. Furthermore, an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of colon cancer to about 50%. Reducing smoking is vital in preventing oral cancer (WHO, 2009).

Arguments against

On the other hand, behavior change may not go a long way in preventing lifestyle diseases. This is attributed to the fact that family history plays a greater role in one’s health history. For instance, there have been cases of people developing lifestyle diseases because of the health history of their family. These diseases include stroke, cancer, heart diseases or diabetes (Keleher & Macdougall, 2011). Normally, the family members do share habits, genes, lifestyles and environments. This has resulted in family members sharing characteristics like dimples or curly hair. In the same, there are high chances of lifestyle diseases running through the family. In the family, risks are increased by numerous factors (Willett et al, n. d).

One of these factors is diseases that do occur at an earlier age than expected put people at risk within a family. Additionally, in case there is a disease that occurs in more than one close relative, then there can be a risk of it affecting other members. A disease like breast cancer affects both genders. This means that a risk associated with breast cancer will not be reduced by the behavior change. In other cases, some diseases occur in combinations within a family. For instance, these can be heart disease and diabetes or ovarian and breast cancer. Such diseases do run through families. As such, a change in one’s behavior will not reduce a risk associated with them (CDC, 2011).


CDC. (2011). Family History is Important for Your Health. Web.

ICSI. (2011). Health Care Guideline: Healthy Lifestyles. Web.

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Keleher, H., & Macdougall, C. (2011). Understanding Health: A Determinants Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

WHO. (2009). Do lifestyle changes improve health? Web.

Willett et al. (n. d). Prevention of Chronic Disease by Means of Diet and Lifestyle Changes. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, July 23). Behavior Change and “Lifestyle Disease” Era.

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