Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Health Behavior Change in Vulnerable Individuals

What knowledge about health behavior change can be leveraged to design innovative and effective strategies for behavior change among the most vulnerable individuals?

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Significant health disparities exist in part because primary and secondary prevention strategies are not optimal for particularly vulnerable populations, who often grapple with multiple co-morbidities and low resources. Improving health promotion efforts by targeting health behaviors could help to close the disparity gap.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Many health damaging behaviors, such as smoking, are much more prevalent in certain groups than in the population at large. Multi-level efforts to promote health behavior change have not been optimally effective in these vulnerable groups. We need to build on what we know, understand the gaps, and develop new, culturally sensitive behavior change intervention strategies that will be effective for all groups.
Multi-level strategies to change health-damaging behaviors are effective for some behaviors, but tend to be least effective for the most vulnerable populations. For example, the percentage of people who smoke has decreased dramatically in the last 60 years, but significantly less so for racial and ethnic minorities, those with mental health issues, low income groups, and other vulnerable individuals. These differences contribute to health disparities among these groups, and are in part due to the need for multiple risk reduction and for strategies that are culturally informed.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea NHLBI Staff



58 net votes
80 up votes
22 down votes
Idea No. 72