Press release -

Changes in lifestyle - a multifaceted psychosocial process

Motivation to change, new habits and self-awareness are necessary for those who wish to change eating and physical activity habits. In order to change their lifestyle, a person must be capable of controlling and handling their own life. These are the findings of a new masters study from the Nordic School of Public Health NHV.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing in Nordic countries and around the world. This is a worrisome development because it is associated with serious illness and reduced health. The problem is met with different strategies and initiatives.
One way to halt the obesity trend in the Nordic countries is to try to influence inhabitants to lead a more healthy life. There is a need for knowledge about which strategies are effective in this attempt.
Mirjam Smedsød has therefore in her masters study, with the use of qualitative methods, examined how people who have succeeded in changing their lifestyle, experienced and handled the process of change.
"The results show that a successful change in lifestyle is achieved through a series of psychosocial processes", says Mirjam Smedsrød.
These processes can be described from three main concepts, which have been categorized as “being motivated to change”, “making new habits” and “taking control of oneself”
The change process as a whole is characterized by how the individuals have developed a greater degree of control and manageability in their own lives, according to Mirjam Smedsrød.
A successful change in lifestyle is therefore a psychosocial empowerment process which is about taking control of one´s own life, and includes processes related to self-control, motivation, poor psychological health and the making of new habits.


  • Health, Health Care, Pharmaceuticals


  • control
  • health promotion
  • nordic school of public health
  • public health
  • quality of life

Nordic School of Public Health NHV leads the way for Public Health. The Nordic School of Public Health is one of the oldest and largest institutions under the Nordic Council of Ministers. With the student in focus and a high level of scientific quality and public relevance, NHV conducts research and delivers teaching and ensure public health now and in the future.

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