Behavioral medicine and prevention of non-communicable diseases in China: current challenges and future directions

Ding Ding, Xue Feng Zhong, Joseph Lau, Brian Federick Oldenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We describe the emergence of recent public health challenges in China, particularly those regarding lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We also summarize some recent examples of behavioral medicine research and practice in relation to the prevention and control of NCDs in China. Finally, we describe recent changes in the public health system in China and how behavioral medicine research and practice can be incorporated into this system to address these public health challenges. Methods: We considered research and policy literature from both China and Western countries in order to evaluate the relevance of the field of behavioral medicine for addressing the rising NCDs in China. Results: Rapid economic development and related social and environmental changes have brought about increasing wealth and lifestyle changes in China, along with new public health challenges related to the prevention and control of NCDs. The field of behavioral medicine has much to offer China in addressing these public health challenges. Although behavioral medicine research and practice are still at an early stage in China, there are encouraging signs of its development, particularly resulting from international collaborations with researchers from Western countries. The next stage of this field s development in China will involve increased integration of behavioral medicine into public health education, training, and the health system. However, this process of integration will need to build on China s traditional approaches to public health training, research, and practice. Conclusions: Although the field of behavioral medicine in public health is still in its infancy in China, we argue that the practice and principles of behavioral medicine are important for successfully addressing the substantial burden of NCDs now and in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584 - 589
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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