The Contribution of Behavioral Science to Addressing the Social and Wider Determinants of Health

Health inequalities in early mortality and patterns of illness within and between countries remain a major problem and are a significant global social injustice, despite the extensive literature and scientific evidence from both approaches proposing various interventions. This report is based on a review of reviews of the behavioral interventions literature and the wider determinants literature, and a narrative review of other relevant materials. The report makes the case for scientific consilience between the differing approaches and outlines the practical implications of such a consilience. Case-studies on tobacco control, HIV prevention and control, the response to COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, and obesity are used to illustrate examples of consilience and nonconsilience, use of evidence from outside the peer-reviewed literature, and how consilience might work in practice. Our review found that consilience is well developed in tobacco control and HIV prevention and control, but much less so in the other areas.

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