Multiple health behaviours: Overview and implications

Bonnie Spring*, Arlen C. Moller, Michael J. Coons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

250 Scopus citations


Background More remains unknown than known about how to optimize multiple health behaviour change. Methods After reviewing the prevalence and comorbidities among major chronic disease risk behaviours for adults and youth, we consider the origins and applicability of high-risk and population strategies to foster multiple health behaviour change. Results Findings indicate that health risk behaviours are prevalent, increase with age and co-occur as risk behaviour clusters or bundles. Conclusions We conclude that both population and high-risk strategies for health behaviour intervention are warranted, potentially synergistic and need intervention design that accounts for substitute and complementary relationships among bundled health behaviours. To maximize positive public health impact, a pressing need exists for bodies of basic and translational science that explain health behaviour bundling. Also needed is applied science that elucidates the following: (1) the optimal number of behaviours to intervene upon; (2) how target behaviours are best selected (e.g. greatest health impact; patient preference or positive effect on bundled behaviours); (3) whether to increase healthy or decrease unhealthy behaviours; (4) whether to intervene on health behaviours simultaneously or sequentially and (5) how to achieve positive synergies across individual-, group-and population-level intervention approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)i3-i10
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Risk behaviors
  • behavior change
  • behavioral intervention
  • health behavior bundles
  • health behaviours
  • lifestyle risk reduction
  • multiple health behaviors
  • preventive medicine
  • risk behavior cluster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiple health behaviours: Overview and implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this