The Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU)
The Behaviour and Health Research Unit (BHRU) is funded as part of the Department of Health Policy Research Programme (2010-2015), and its aim is to contribute evidence to national and international efforts to achieve sustained behaviour change that improves health outcomes and reduces health inequalities. The outputs of the research are intended to directly inform policy-making on public health. Specific objectives are:
- to generate evidence on the effectiveness, value for money, and impact on health inequalities of interventions delivered at individual, community and population levels;
- to provide policy makers with timely and authoritative information to support decisions on investing or disinvesting in interventions designed to change health-related behaviour.
BHRU research draws upon recent developments in understanding behaviour. They come from neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics, which support a view of behaviour comprising two sets of processes: reflective, goal-directed processes; and impulsive, automatic processes, with the latter playing the greater role in many health-related behaviours. A particular emphasis is placed on studying interventions that alter environments to cue healthier behaviours via automatic processes. We will focus initially on four behaviours: diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption, which together are responsible for the majority of premature deaths worldwide.
Director: Professor Theresa Marteau Website: www.bhru.iph.cam.ac.uk