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Monday: A Day to Change Health Habits

A new Mailman School of Public Health program, Healthy Monday, calls for a change in health behaviors that can start each Monday. Why Monday? Worldwide population studies note an increased incidence of disease-related indicators – heart attacks, injuries or accidents – on Mondays. The choice of Monday as the day for encouraging attention to health is not based on these risk statistics, however, but on the fact that people organize their lives around the week that begins with Monday. It’s the day to set goals and refocus, the day to trigger and sustain healthy behavior.

”Many health promotion campaigns lack a compliance component,” says Audrey Cross, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., associate clinical professor of sociomedical sciences, director of the Healthy Monday campaign, and principal author of the research review. A compliance date adds the ‘by when,’ and the weekly recurrence of Monday adds that specific reminder to act.”

While many fail to keep resolutions to change behavior within one month of making them, success is possible. Research shows that change occurs in stages from pre-contemplation, where there is no intent to take action in the foreseeable future, to contemplation, or intent to change in the next six months, through preparation or intent to take action in the immediate future and finally to action and maintenance. Those seeking to make health behavior changes often get stuck in one stage and there is no prompt or reminder to get them back on track. As the recognition of Monday as the ‘day all health breaks loose’ grows, a social context of support will be created to assist those intending to make behavior change.

Visit for Healthy Monday messages.