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Nudge or fudge? Doctors debate best approach to improve public health

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 27 January 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d580
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Nudging the general population into healthier lifestyles does have a role to play but should not be the sole approach that the government uses to tackle health inequalities, public health and social care experts agreed.

Nudge or fudge—can a gentle push really tackle health inequalities? was the issue debated at the inaugural meeting of the Health Equalities Alliance, a cross-sector group of organisations collaborating to improve health inequalities in the UK. The alliance was launched at the annual conference of the Royal Society for Public Health in September 2010 to build on the proposals of Sir Michael Marmot’s review Fair Society, Healthy Lives published in February last year.

The UK government’s preferred strategy for promoting public health is to persuade, or nudge, individuals into …

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