Behaviour change: the principles for effective interventions (PH6)

  • Public health guidance PH6
  • Issued: October 2007
    • Pathways

      behaviour change

      Fast, easy summary view of NICE guidance on 'behaviour change'

    • Behaviour change: the principles for effective interventions

      This guidance was previously entitled ‘Behaviour change’.

      This guidance is aimed at those responsible for helping people to change their behaviour to improve their health. This includes policy makers and those working in local authorities and the community and voluntary sectors.

      It gives advice on how to plan and run relevant initiatives.

      The recommendations include the following advice:

      • base interventions on a proper assessment of the target group, where they are located and the behaviour which is to be changed: careful planning is the cornerstone of success
      •  work with other organisations and the community itself to decide on and develop initiatives
      • build on the skills and knowledge that already exists in the community, for example, by encouraging networks of people who can support each other
      • take account of – and resolve – problems that prevent people changing their behaviour (for example, the costs involved in taking part in exercise programmes or buying fresh fruit and vegetables, or lack of knowledge about how to make changes)
      • base all interventions on evidence of what works
      • train staff to help people change their behaviour
      • evaluate all interventions.

      This page was last updated: 08 April 2014

    • Guidance formats


      Guidance review

      Review decision: 

      Following the publication of the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee Inquiry report (2011), this guidance has been extended to cover recommendations about individual interventions for behaviour change. See Behaviour change: individual approaches.

      Next review date: August 2014

Implementation tools and resources

See this guidance in practice


The summary of the key recommendations in the guidance written for patients, carers and those with little medical knowledge and may be used in local patient information leaflets.

Quick Reference Guide

The quick reference guide presents recommendations for health professionals

NICE Guidance

The published NICE clinical guidance, contains the recommendations for health professionals and NHS bodies.

Full Guidance

The published full clinical guidance for specialists with background, evidence, recommendations and methods used.