Do You Need a Hug? Or a Shove?

Do you need a hug? Or a shove?

The power of local government is a resource to influence lifestyle, especially in the health sector. While government laws and schemes can forcefully cause a chain reaction, positive repercussions are not always apparent. That being said, creative health initiatives in the grassroots style can directly or inadvertently cause cultural and social change. BBC published an article outlining the significance of local health councils, and the manner of measures to spur health change. The author organized these categories into the physical verbs of “Hug, Nudge, Shove, or Smack.” I would have liked to see the word “punch” thrown in there for equal dramatic measure.

What do these words represent specifically? It’s a literary way of defining community action. Take “Hug” for example. Local officials worked with fish and chips restaurants in north-east England to get them to use salt shakers with fewer holes. Who would have thought?! Reducing the holes from 17 to 5 can cut salt consumption by three quarters, and that’s without the public even being aware!


The terminology break-down:

Hug – Covers a range of incentives – although not usually hard cash. Instead, the focus has been on providing vouchers or giving discounts. Already used to discourage things such as drug use and smoking.

Nudge – Based on the idea of changing behaviour without using compulsion. Can include enticing people to take up activities or using subliminal marketing. For example, stressing social norms can encourage people to change behaviour because they want to be alike.

Shove – More deliberate than a nudge. For example, some council planning departments have been restricting takeaways and fast food restaurants near schools.

Smack – The most draconian of all the measures: banning something. Most famously used by central government when it introduced the smoking ban.

While ACCFamily cannot provide salt shakers with fewer holes, the aim to provide home-healthcare containing ‘hug-like’ measures is ingrained in our ethos. Sometimes, though, we get a little feisty with a nudge. Case in point: “EVERYONE is calling ACC Family to inquire of their marvelous services, so YOU should TOO!”