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Yale University

Health Behavior Change: From Evidence to Action

Yale University via Coursera


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Humans often fail to make rational decisions that affect their health. This course seeks to heighten understanding of the social and behavioral factors that contribute to health decisions and behaviors, with an ultimate goal of learning how to utilize these factors in improving public health efforts. Through a set of experiential learning exercises, students will learn to apply the science of health behavior change in their own lives. The course is appropriate for students interested in health care and public health, as well as individuals who are interested in learning to apply the science of behavior change to improve their personal wellbeing.


  • Welcome to the course
    • How do we define health? What social and behavioral factors contribute to health outcomes? How can we apply some of the key theories of behavior change to improve our nutritional, physical, and mental health?
  • Nutrition Part 1
    • How does our diet affect our health? What are some effective interventions for improving our dietary choices?
  • Nutrition Part 2
    • How do we define obesity? What role does personal responsibility play in nutritional health? How does food marketing affect our dietary choices?
  • Physical Activity Part 1
    • What are the health benefits of exercise? Why is it difficult to measure physical activity levels? How can we encourage more active lifestyles?
  • Physical Activity Part 2
    • What factors contribute to regular physical activity? Why is it important for older adults to have active lifestyles? What works and doesn’t work when it comes to physical activity promotion?
  • Mental Health Part 1
    • How prevalent are mental disorders? What is the impact of depression on both the individual and on society? What are some effective treatments for depression?
  • Mental Health Part 2
    • Can positive affect impact health? How can we diagnose and treat anxiety disorders? What role does stress play in our overall health?
  • Conclusion
    • What happens when students undergo behavior change experiments? What can we learn from the research findings? This course, Health Behavior Change: From Evidence to Action, has provided an introduction to behavioral theory, as it pertains to health and health care delivery. We explored the social and behavioral factors that contribute to health decisions and behaviors across three domains: nutrition, physical activity, and mental health. Most importantly, we engaged in personal behavior change projects that helped us understand the challenges in promoting and sustaining long-term behavior change at both the individual and global levels.

Taught by

Marney White


5.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 385 ratings

Start your review of Health Behavior Change: From Evidence to Action

  • Anonymous
    I highly recommend this course. Marney is the best professor I have had. She is funny, engaging, and cares deeply about each of her students as individuals. Furthermore, this is the type of class that helps you not only academically/professionally, but also personally. The class is genuinely fun. The engagement with other students is awesome, and the projects challenge you to try new things. And the long-term impacts on one's personal health are apparent.
  • Anonymous
    10/10 recommend taking this course. The concepts I learned are ones that I apply to all aspects of my life, and have shared with family/friends. Marney makes the content extremely engaging and relatable, and this course really challenges how you think about behavior change within yourself as well as at the population level. I learned a TON and have grown both academically and personally from Marney’s teachings.

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