It is a familiar ritual. Periodically we are told that—for the good of our health—we must cut something out of our diet. Such pronouncements are often prompted by a new study; the message tends to be delivered in rather alarming tones and results in public anxiety when it is revealed that a hitherto beloved food product actually causes harm. The organizations that make these statements are clearly acting with people’s best interests at heart, but how effective are their communications at motivating healthy behavior? To what extent is spotlighting individual risk factors good for the promotion of wellbeing?
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