"Increasing take-up of preventative health behaviours to mitigate the rise of non-communicable diseases in lower- and middle- income countries: a comp

Lead Research Organisation: London School of Economics & Pol Sci
Department Name: Health Policy

Abstract

Lower- and middle- income countries (LMICs) face a growing and disproportionate burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).1 The socio-economic costs of growing NCD rates are substantial and are likely to be borne disproportionately by the poor. While determinants of the rates of NCDs are complex, some of the major risk factors are behaviours. Reducing these behavioural risks through preventative actions would have high returns both for poor households and for governments.

The central research question of my proposal is how best to induce preventative behaviours: through interventions targeting the behaviours directly, or through interventions which address poverty - a factor well-documented as the indirect cause of many unhealthy habits. Evidence suggests behaviour change interventions could offer scalable, low-cost solutions in low-capacity settings. However, there is also a strong relationship between poverty and take-up of preventative behaviours. Some evidence suggests alleviating poverty could indirectly address unhealthy behaviours, thus improving health outcomes.

In my doctoral research, I seek to evaluate interventions to reduce unhealthy diet: a behavioural risk factor strongly associated with a range of diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular) with a high burden in LMICs. In the first chapter of my thesis, I propose to extend the model of consumption choice to characterise decisions on preventative health and to test the model's parameters in a lab-in-the-field experiment. I will test whether 1) experimentally induced variation in poverty, 2) an intervention designed to overcome a behavioural barrier, or 3) a combination of 1 and 2 improves the take up of healthy behaviours. To inform the experiment, in my second chapter I propose to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of interventions used to promote preventative health habits in LMICs. In the third chapter, I will seek to causally determine the cross-country variation in health outcomes attributable to behavioural characteristics.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000622/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2751288 Studentship ES/P000622/1 25/09/2022 29/09/2025 Marta Grabowska