Monday, August 10, 2009

Knowledge doesn't change behaviour

We all can think of people who are "bright" or have "talent" that have not been successful in life due to some character flaw or other issue. We all know that success in life is not about how many facts you know, but how you behave.

Therefore it should be no surprise that:
"General nutritional knowledge has been shown to relate to consumption only to a very limited degree."

"The correlation between.... knowledge and behavior was only 0.10" [in simple terms means that there was no correlation between knowledge and behavior.
My life is classic, I know a lot more about nutrition than most people. Yet my lifestyle is not more healthy than most people. My head knowledge doesn't translate into a healthy lifestyle. It would appear that beliefs about the sensory aspects of food are more important than nutritional benefits. That is how the food tastes, smells, texture, etc is more important than nutritional benefits.

Thus this shows the futility of public health campaigns to eat better. We seem awash with pamphlets, posters, ads all about how we should be living healthier lifestyles, eating more vegetables etc etc etc. However I have not seen any statistics about peoples lives being changed by this data. And I now know why I have not seen statistics - because if they exists they will show the futility of wasting money in this education campaign.

I personally think the money would be better spent on personal trainers who would work with people who have indicated they want to make lifestyle changes. These trainers would only impact a small number of people, but this would make a significant impact. Thus friends, relatives and family would be encouraged to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Shepherd Behavioural modelling of fat consumption Food Quality and Preference
Volume 2, Issue 2, 1990, Pages 89-94

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