What do we want to know?
We carried out a scoping review to provide an overview of the current international research literature that evaluates the effectiveness of incentives to address health behaviours related to smoking, healthy eating, physical activity, obesity and weight management.
Who wants to know?
Policymakers, research commissioners, practitioners and researchers.
What did we find?
One hundred and twenty-eight records of trials, RCTs and systematic reviews were identified. This indicates that there is a considerable body of research concentrated on this topic. The literature was fairly evenly split between those that targeted smoking behaviours and those that addressed weight, diet and activity issues. The majority of studies evaluated financial incentives, though other material incentives were also identified.
What are the implications?
While 27 systematic reviews were identified there remain some noticeable gaps in the evidence base, and implications for future research are suggested. Consideration should be given to commissioning a full in-depth systematic review of incentive-focused reviews for improving health outcomes.
Consideration should be given to commissioning systematic reviews of primary research in the following areas:
- Incentives for smoking cessation in disadvantaged populations
- Incentives for smoking cessation in pregnancy
- Incentives for weight loss in overweight and obese populations
How did we get these results?
We searched a number of sources for identifying research evidence, screened these for inclusion and descriptively coded 128 studies based on their abstracts. The aim was to assess the potential nature and size of a body of research literature, rather than be fully exhaustive.
This summary was prepared by the EPPI-Centre.
This report should be cited as: Kavanagh, J, Stansfield C, Thomas J (2009), Incentives to improve smoking, physical activity, dietary and weight management behaviours: a scoping review of the research evidence. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.