In defense of the randomized controlled trial for health promotion research

Am J Public Health. 2006 Jul;96(7):1181-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.061713. Epub 2006 May 30.


The overwhelming evidence about the role lifestyle plays in mortality, morbidity, and quality of life has pushed the young field of modern health promotion to center stage. The field is beset with intense debate about appropriate evaluation methodologies. Increasingly, randomized designs are considered inappropriate for health promotion research. We have reviewed criticisms against randomized trials that raise philosophical and practical issues, and we will show how most of these criticisms can be overcome with minor design modifications. By providing rebuttal to arguments against randomized trials, our work contributes to building a sound methodological base for health promotion research.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Dissent and Disputes
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Public Health*
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*