Healthy Behaviors through Behavioral Design-Obesity Prevention

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 14;17(14):5049. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17145049.


Evidence for behavior modification for improved health outcomes was evaluated for nutrition, physical activity (PA), and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). The databases searched included LISTA, PubMed, and Web of Science, with articles rated using an a priori baseline score of 70/100 to establish inclusion. The initial search produced 52,847 articles, 63 of which were included in the qualitative synthesis. Thirteen articles met inclusion for nutrition: cafeteria interventions, single interventions, and vending interventions. Seventeen articles on physical activity were included: stair use, walking, and adjustable desks. For IEQ, 33 articles met inclusion: circadian disruption, view and natural light, and artificial light. A narrative synthesis was used to find meaningful connections across interventions with evidence contributing to health improvements. Commonalities throughout the nutrition studies included choice architecture, increasing the availability of healthy food items, and point-of-purchase food labeling. Interventions that promoted PA included stair use, sit/stand furniture, workplace exercise facilities and walking. Exposure to natural light and views of natural elements were found to increase PA and improve sleep quality. Overexposure to artificial light may cause circadian disruption, suppressing melatonin and increasing risks of cancers. Overall, design that encourages healthy behaviors may lower risks associated with chronic disease.

Keywords: built environment; indoor environment quality; nutrition; obesity; physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise
  • Food Labeling
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Obesity* / prevention & control
  • Workplace*