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Impact of public health campaigns promoting tobacco control and physical activity

Public health campaigns have improved awareness of health risks, according to a large review funded by the National Institute for Health Research. Tobacco control campaigns have demonstrated cost-effectiveness, with only limited positive impact found from campaigns directed at drinking or eating behaviours.

Osteopaths are well-placed to understand the lifestyle choices of our patients, and give appropriate advice. This review suggests that gearing messages toward the most responsive groups may have the most positive effects. For example, children and young people seemed most positively influenced by recent campaigns around smoking and drug use.

The limited effectiveness of campaigns relating to diet indicate that there is still room for improvement in this area. Osteopaths frequently give advice relating to diet and physical activity, and are in a good position to provide information about healthy behaviours relating to food and exercise.

The findings from the review are summarised here: