Incentivizing Healthy Habits: Incentivising Health

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 1
Words: 299
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: School

Among the cues that can have the most impact on changing healthcare behaviors, small and frequent incentives to encourage healthy behaviors, attainable thresholds with reward tears, different types of messaging, the “path of least resistance,” and modern technology use appear the most promising. For example, it is hard for people to change their habits when they have a tendency to do something persistently, but changing the default to help engage in healthy behaviors can allow them to stay on the same “path of least resistance,” such as changing prescription refills from 30 to 90 days (AIA Australia, 2020). Besides, in the highly digitalized world, the use of technologies such as mobile applications and social media can play a substantial role in monitoring and modifying health behaviors because of the motivation aspect embedded in their use.

Personally, as a patient, I would most readily respond to loss aversion, which represents the type of motivation to avoid losses rather than obtain gains. Specifically, unhealthy habits can lead to weight gain, poor organ functioning, and chronic diseases, all of which represent gains. It feels more encouraging to engage in healthy behaviors to avoid the losses instead of gaining something positive such as improved posture or a more muscular body.

Among the cues, providers and insurance companies can be the most interested in adopting the approach of incentives to discourage harmful habits. These incentives can include financial gains that employers offer to their workers to stop smoking, for example. It has been shown that quit rates were higher in the groups of employees who were incentivized to break the harmful habit with a monetary prize (AIA Australia, 2020). Similarly, paying lower insurance premiums if a person does not smoke or drink can be a good incentive for individuals to avoid the habits altogether.


AIA Australia. (2020). The Case for incentivising health using behavioural economics to improve health and wellness.