Moving behavioral theories into the 21st century: Technological advancements for improving quality of life

Wendy J. Nilsen, Misha Pavel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Data on health and wellness from around the world reveal a pattern of less than optimal outcomes for the young and old alike. These results are not limited to the developing world. In fact, a recent report showed that Americans die sooner and experience higher rates of disease and injury than people in other high-income countries [1]. Although the precise causes of these disparities are not fully elucidated, chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease, are increasing in the Western world. Similarly, in the low- and middle-income countries, chronic disease is increasingly being cited as an emerging problem and a major component of disease burden [2]. It is widely suspected that the increased prevalence of unhealthy behaviors plays a significant role in overall health and in chronic disease. Indeed, it has been estimated that approximately 40% of all premature deaths are due to behavioral patterns that are potentially modifiable [3]. Further, in patients suffering from chronic disease, self-management of health behaviors (e.g., eating well, exercising as indicated, and taking medication as directed) has been shown to have a significant effect on symptom reduction and quality of life, as well as reducing costs in the health-care system [4]. Finally, enhancing health behavior to prevent disease has been consistently shown to decrease adverse health events over time. Thus, the dangerous effects of inactivity, poor diet, smoking, drug and alcohol use, lack of sleep, and chronically stressful environments are now widely appreciated to be associated with not only the quality of life but also with mortality and health-care and disability costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-28
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE pulse
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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