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Consensus Study Report


At the dawn of the twenty-first century, Americans enjoyed better overall health than at any other time in the nation's history. Rapid advancements in medical technologies, breakthroughs in understanding the genetic underpinnings of health and ill health, improvements in the effectiveness and variety of pharmaceuticals, and other developments in biomedical research have helped develop cures for many illnesses and improve the lives of those with chronic diseases.

By itself, however, biomedical research cannot address the most significant challenges to improving public health. Approximately half of all causes of mortality in the United States are linked to social and behavioral factors such as smoking, diet, alcohol use, sedentary lifestyle, and accidents. Yet less than five percent of the money spent annually on U.S. health care is devoted to reducing the risks of these preventable conditions. Behavioral and social interventions offer great promise, but as yet their potential has been relatively poorly tapped. Promoting Health identifies those promising areas of social science and behavioral research that may address public health needs.

It includes 12 papers—commissioned from some of the nation's leading experts—that review these issues in detail, and serves to assess whether the knowledge base of social and behavioral interventions has been useful, or could be useful, in the development of broader public health interventions.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 2000. Promoting Health: Intervention Strategies from Social and Behavioral Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

508 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-07175-8
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-13291-6
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xiv
Introduction 1-5
Findings and Recommendations 6-32
Conclusions 33-34
References 35-36
Paper Contribution A: The Contribution of Social and Behavioral Research to an Understanding of the Distribution of Disease: A Multilevel Approach 37-80
Paper Contribution B: Understanding and Reducing Socioeconomic and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health 81-124
Paper Contribution C: Preconception, Prenatal, Perinatal, and Postnatal Influences on Health 125-169
Paper Contribution D: The Healthy Development of Young Children: SES Disparities, Prevention Strategies, and Policy Opportunities 170-216
Paper Contribution E: Preadolescent and Adolescent Influences on Health 217-253
Paper Contribution F: Behavioral and Social Science Contributions to the Health of Adults in the United States 254-321
Paper Contribution G: The Behavioral and Social Dynamics of Aging Well 322-336
Paper Contribution H: The Role of Mass Media in Creating Social Capital: A New Direction for Public Health 337-365
Paper Contribution I: Public Health and Safety in Context: Lessons from Community-Level Theory on Social Captial 366-389
Paper Contribution J: Legal and Public Policy Interventions to Advance the Population's Health 390-416
Paper Contribution K: The Need for, and Value of, a Multi-Level Approach to Disease Prevention: The Case of Tobacco Control 417-449
Paper Contribution L: Behavioral and Psychosocial Intervention to Modify Pathophysiology and Disease Course 450-488
Committee Biographies 489-493

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