Next review date: January 2017

This guidance makes recommendations on individual-level interventions aimed at changing health-damaging behaviours among people aged 16 or over. It includes a range of approaches, from single interventions delivered as the opportunity arises to planned, high-intensity interventions that may take place over a number of sessions.

The behaviours covered relate to: alcohol, diet, physical activity, sex and smoking. However, the recommendations may also apply to behaviour change related to other health issues.

The recommendations are inter-linked and should be implemented together. They cover: policy and strategy, commissioning, planning, delivery, training and evaluation of individual-level behaviour change interventions. They also cover behaviour change techniques, the maintenance of change and organisational and national support.

The guidance is for: commissioners, managers, training and education organisations, service providers and practitioners with public health as part of their remit. It is particularly aimed at those who commission, design, investigate and deliver interventions to help people change their behaviour – and those who provide the training needed to carry out these activities.

The guidance may also be of interest to policy makers and researchers, as well as people who want to change their behaviour (for example, to stop smoking).

This guidance built on the principles on individual level interventions (recommendation 4) and evaluation (recommendation 7) as outlined in the NICE guideline for behaviour change: general approaches.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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