Most individuals engage in multiple unhealthy lifestyle behaviors with the potential for negative health consequences. Yet most health promotion research has addressed risk factors as categorically separate entities, and little is known about how to effectively promote multiple health behavior change (MHBC). This review summarizes the recent literature (January 2004 to December 2009) on randomized clinical trials evaluating MHBC interventions for primary prevention. Combining all the studies across all the reviews, fewer than 150 studies were identified. This is a fraction of the number of trials conducted on changing individual behavioral risks. Three primary behavioral clusters dominated: (1) the energy balance behaviors of physical activity and diet; (2) addictive behaviors like smoking and other drugs; and (3) disease-related behaviors, specifically cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer related. Findings were largely disappointing for studies of diet and physical activity, particularly with youth. Treating 2 addictions, including smoking, resulted in greater long-term sobriety from alcohol and illicit drugs. MHBC intervention effects were stronger and more consistent for cancer prevention than CVD prevention. MHBC interventions offer a new paradigm for broader, more comprehensive health promotion; however, the potential value in maximizing intervention impact is largely unmet.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1559827610391883
View details for Web of Science ID 000446674500001
View details for PubMedID 24358034
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3865280