Journal Mobile

JK Bray, G McCartney, JK Dunbar, J Thoulass
Journal Issue: 
Volume 39: Issue 3: 2009




In Scotland in recent years smoking, poor diet and excess alcohol have caused major public health problems. Knowledge of what is effective in the field of  health  behaviour  change  is  therefore  essential  in  achieving  improvements  in health. This  symposium  was  convened  with  the  purpose  of  ensuring  that  public health policy is informed by the best available evidence on effective interventions. As behaviour is complex, achieving change can be difficult and it is essential that interventions  are  properly  planned,  implemented  and  evaluated.  A  variety  of recommendations  for  progress  were  advocated  in  areas  including  research, knowledge  transfer,  health  inequalities  and  policy. The  take-home  message  for  the public  health  community  was  that  action  in  these  areas  must  be  prioritised  if health improvement for the population is to be realised. Given the importance of this topic it is no surprise that the symposium received substantial media attention. Coverage  focused  on  Professor Anne  Ludbrook’s  work  on  minimum  pricing  for alcohol. This is an excellent example of an intervention with considerable potential to  improve  public  health.  Crucially,  in  terms  of  acceptability,  this  measure  would not  reduce  alcohol  industry  revenue,  even  though  it  should  significantly  reduce alcohol consumption – a win-win situation for all.