Hello and welcome to the online course health behavior change from evidence to action. I'm Professor Marney White and I'll be the instructor for this course. This is an eight-week version of a full graduate course that I teach at the Yale School of Public Health. I wanted to introduce myself, explained how this course was developed and why I'm very glad that you're joining me for what I hope is an informative course and one that you find personally helpful. While I will aim to teach you a lot of new information, I also want to equip you with a set of skills to take with you as you make your own health choices. So to start, I wanted to tell you a bit about how I got here professionally because it really informs how this course evolved. My first career was in advertising, and I worked on creating ads specifically for use in women's magazines. Over time, I grew to become concerned with the images that the popular media present. Specifically, I started to worry about what is called the thinness ideal, awesome presented in the commercial ads that we see. I became concerned about how these messages contribute to problems for young girls and women. I also grew concerned with media messages telling everyone, not just women, about all sorts of unhealthy dieting strategies. So after a few years in advertising, I decided to leave that industry and pursue a degree, a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. My goal was to become a clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders. So since that time, I have worked in academic research and my focus is on understanding and developing the best treatments for individuals with eating problems, including obesity. I've also worked on treatment studies to help people change other types of health behaviors like smoking. A very important thing that I've learned through all of my work is that changing health behaviors is extremely difficult, and unfortunately, many of the messages that we get from popular media, and sometimes even from the medical community, is that if we only work hard enough or if we just do it, we can change our health behavior. Unfortunately, this is often a counterproductive message. There is a science to health behavior change. Changing any behavior is difficult, is a very difficult process, but if examined and modified in a systematic way, it is possible to change health behavior. This class is about the science of health behavior change. Originally designed as a graduate course for students in the school of public health, it covers best practices from clinical and behavioral psychology. It does so with a public health lens. Much of the focus of the course is on how health behaviors relate to the prevention of chronic diseases. In public health, we recognize that it is much more effective to prevent the onset of a disease than it is to treat a disease once it has occurred. So this class is about promoting health behaviors with the end goal of helping you learn not only the science of health behavior change, but how to apply the principles to your own life. Through a set of experiential learning exercises, you will learn the science of behavior change by applying the principles to your own life. Importantly, every time I have taught this course, I have established a set of behavior change strategies and goals for myself. The videos that you will watch will include first-person accounts in which we discuss our own health behavior challenges, successes, and sometimes failures. The point is that this stuff is difficult even for the experts. The course is structured in three general units. Initially, I will teach about the principles of behavior change. We will then work through three modules or units of behavior change projects. One will be focused on nutrition, another on physical activity, and the last one on mental health or mental wellness behaviors. I've chosen these three domains because each is critically important to overall physical well-being. In each unit or module, I will review the science and discuss the relevance of health behaviors to overall physical health. I will then discuss what we have learned from treatment studies focused on each of these domains. Finally, I will ask you to select an area to focus on yourself. Each student will be asked to select a small health behavior that you would like to change. Using the tools and techniques described in the course, you will then apply these behavior change strategies to see how effective or ineffective they might be with respect to your own goals. The ideal would be that you choose a small, modifiable goal in each area. As the assignments draw closer, I will give you instruction as to how the best to select a goal, and how to select an appropriate behavior change strategies specific to that goal. At the end of the course, it is my hope that you will have not only learned about the science of behavior change, but that you will have become equipped with some tools that you can then apply to your own life. With these tools and knowledge in hand, it is my hope that your personal health may benefit. My approach is that I like to be as conversational as possible. So to that end, I will have guest students in the studio with me for all the video lecture segments. Again, our focus will be on choosing goals that are relevant and specific to your own life and implementing small changes to achieve these goals. The ideal would be that you will learn a lot and hopefully your health will benefit as a result. So thank you for joining. I hope that you enjoy the course and that you drive much benefit in the upcoming weeks. Thank you.