Health behavior change is a combination of many key principles that help shape an individual’s life. The core principle of implementing healthy behavior change is to make healthy choices a top priority because they have a long-lasting effect on the well-being of our lives. By implementing this strategy, environmental barriers that individuals face when trying to live a healthy lifestyle must be dealt with. In order to reach optimal health, health professionals have to heavily emphasize and look at the bigger picture when treating patients. Environmental factors and social determinants of health all directly correlate and impact the life of an individual. The Health Belief Model describes the key principles of health behavior below:

Image of flow chart outlining Individual Perceptions, Modifying Factors, and Likelihood of Action


The Health Belief Model is made up of 3 key principles which are individual perceptions, modifying factors, and likelihood of action. An example of this model could be an individual who smokes cigarettes and they have been having thoughts about quitting smoking. They go to the doctor to find out that they may be at risk of developing lung cancer if they do not stop smoking. Now, the individual has a self-realization moment that they have to stop smoking. As the individual is preparing themselves to refrain from smoking, they begin to have a different perception of the disease, and so they could now replace their smoking habit with exercise. The individual continues this pattern and maintains this new action as long as they continue to use positive health behaviors such as exercising perceive exercising to be beneficial.