Research in the health sciences has been highly successful in revealing the aetiologies of many morbidities, particularly those involving the microbiology of communicable disease. This success has helped form a narrative to be found in numerous public health documents, about interventions to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (e.g., obesity or alcohol related pathologies). These focus on tackling the purported pathogenic factors causing the diseases as a means of prevention. In this paper, we argue that this approach has been sub-optimal. The mechanisms of aetiology and of prevention are sometimes significantly different and failure to make this distinction has hindered efforts at preventing non-communicable diseases linked to diet, exercise and alcohol consumption. We propose a sociological approach as an alternative based on social practice theory. (A virtual abstract for this paper can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_979cmCmR9rLrKuD7z0ycA).
Keywords: alcohol; behaviour change; non-communicable disease; public health; social practice.
© 2017 The Authors. Sociology of Health & Illness published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation for SHIL.