Multiple Health Behavior Research represents the future of preventive medicine

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Given the disease and cost burdens, Multiple Health Behavior Research represents the future of preventive medicine. Growing evidence in this special issue and beyond indicates that simultaneous and sequential interventions can be effective. The challenge for the future is to make such interventions more effective, cost effective and less demanding. Co-variation represents one innovative approach in which effective change on one treated behavior increases the odds of effective action on a second targeted behavior. Co-variation can occur when all behaviors received full treatment, when one receives full treatment and the others receive minimal treatment and when only one behavior is treated and others co-vary without treatment. Integrative treatments represent another innovation in which higher order constructs drive change on multiple behaviors related to the construct and treatment has to be only on one higher order behavior. A more integrated approach to research and practice involves new paradigms complementing established paradigms. Multiple behaviors proactively treated in populations at home or work by computer-based and stage-based interventions designed to generate co-variation that produces greater impacts can complement traditional paradigms that treat single behaviors in individual patients in clinics by clinicians with action-oriented modular interventions designed for specific behaviors to produce significant efficacy. More inclusive research to support more inclusive practices can hopefully lead to more inclusive care. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Preventive Medicine