The health service needs to be "more innovative" in the way it tackles unhealthy behaviour if the number of people needing cancer and obesity treatment is to be reduced.
That is the finding of the latest report from the King's Fund, which conducted a year-long investigation into the effectiveness of different types of public health programmes used to tackle smoking, alcohol misuse, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Dr Anna Dixon, report co-author and director of policy at the King's Fund, said that the most advanced techniques and technologies will be needed to promote public health.
"The reasons people persist with unhealthy habits are complex. It's often about changing deep-rooted social habits that can become addictive, rather than just helping people make better choices as individuals," she noted.
The expert added that while financial incentives and information campaigns can be "useful", they should be paired with other interventions such as tailored information and personalised support.
A report published earlier this year by the National Child Measurement Programme found that nearly one in three children in year six of primary school were overweight or obese.
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