Intraindividual Variability in the Context of Adults’ Health Behavior

Authored by: Christiane A. Hoppmann , Jennifer C. Lay , Setareh Shayanfar

Handbook of Intraindividual Variability Across the Life Span

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415534864
eBook ISBN: 9780203113066
Adobe ISBN: 9781136285233

10.4324/9780203113066.ch12

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Abstract

Medical advances over the past century have led to unprecedented changes in morbidity and mortality, away from acute infectious diseases as the primary causes of death and toward a situation in which, today, chronic diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and cancer are on the rise (National Vital Statistics Report, 2003). Importantly, the risk of chronic disease is heavily influenced by health behaviors. For example, epidemiological evidence suggests that physical inactivity and obesity in adulthood are prime risk factors that have the potential to reduce life expectancy by more than seven years (Moore et al., 2012). It therefore seems crucial to gain further insight into the factors that govern health behaviors to be able to develop interventions that succeed at getting people to do what they already know is good for them. A better understanding of the psychological factors that are associated with health behaviors therefore has tremendous potential to improve health across adulthood and into old age.

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