We argue that the spread of unhealthy behaviour shows marked similarities with infectious diseases. It is therefore interesting and challenging to use infectious disease methodologies for studying the spread and control of unhealthy behaviour. This would be a great addition to current methods, because it allows taking into account the dynamics of individual interactions and the social environment at large. In particular, the application of individual-based modelling holds great promise to address some major public health questions.

Infectious disease epidemiology, modelling, public health
dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268812000891, hdl.handle.net/1765/67457
Epidemiology and Infection
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Blok, D.J, van Empelen, P, van Lenthe, F.J, Richardus, J.H, & de Vlas, S.J. (2013). Unhealthy behaviour is contagious: An invitation to exploit models for infectious diseases. Epidemiology and Infection, 141(3), 667–669. doi:10.1017/S0950268812000891