Incentives for Health

Peter Anderson*, Oliver Harrison, Cary Cooper, Eva Jane-Llopis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article discusses incentives to help make healthy choices the easy choices for individuals, operating at the levels of the individual, producers and service providers, and governments. Whereas paying individuals directly to be healthier seems to have a limited effect, offering financial incentives through health insurance improves health. Changing the environment to make healthier choices more accessible acts as an incentive to improve health. Employers can provide incentives to improve the health of their employees. Producers and service providers can take voluntary action to make their products less harmful, and they can be nudged into marketing healthier products within a regulatory environment. International agreements and monitoring systems can incentivize governments to do more for health. Lessons from climate change adaptation suggest that multilevel governance and policy integration are greater obstacles to policy change and implementation than knowing what has to be done. Policy change and implementation are triggered by many drivers, many of which are side effects of other policy pressures rather than of the direct policy goal itself. Effective action to reduce noncommunicable diseases will require leveraging social networks into a new ways of thinking about health; making better health prestigious and aspirational, and giving health and wellness a brand that encourages positive behavior change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-133
JournalJournal of Health Communication : International Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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