Resource | Published:

The TIPPME intervention typology for changing environments to change behaviour

Nature Human Behaviour volume 1, Article number: 0140 (2017) | Download Citation


Reflecting widespread interest in concepts of ‘nudging’ and ‘choice architecture’, there is increasing research and policy attention on altering aspects of the small-scale physical environment, such as portion sizes or the placement of products, to change health-related behaviour at the population level. There is, however, a lack of clarity in characterizing these interventions and no reliable framework incorporating standardized definitions. This hampers both the synthesis of cumulative evidence about intervention effects, and the identification of intervention opportunities. To address this, a new tool, TIPPME (typology of interventions in proximal physical micro-environments), has been developed and here applied to the selection, purchase and consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco. This provides a framework to reliably classify and describe, and enable more systematic design, reporting and analysis of, an important class of interventions. In doing so, it makes a distinct contribution to collective efforts to build the cumulative evidence base for effective ways of changing behaviour across populations.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet 388, 1459–1544 (2016).

  2. 2.

    GBD 2015 Risk Factors Collaborators. Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet 388, 1659–1724 (2016).

  3. 3.

    & Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale Univ. Press, 2008).

  4. 4.

    Social and Behavioral Sciences Team. Social and Behavioral Sciences Team 2016 Annual Report (Executive Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council, 2016).

  5. 5.

    , , & Behavioural Insights Applied to Policy: European Report 2016 (Publications Office of the European Union, 2016).

  6. 6.

    , & Dissecting obesogenic environments: the development and application of a framework for identifying and prioritizing environmental interventions for obesity. Prev. Med. 29, 563–570 (1999).

  7. 7.

    & in Handbook of Biology and Society (eds Meloni, M. et al.) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

  8. 8.

    , & Changing human behavior to prevent disease: the importance of targeting automatic processes. Science 337, 1492–1495 (2012).

  9. 9.

    , & Non-conscious processes in changing health-related behaviour: a conceptual analysis and framework. Health Psychol. Rev. 10, 381–394 (2016).

  10. 10.

    , , & Why are some population interventions for diet and obesity more equitable and effective than others? The role of individual agency. PLoS Med. 13, e1001990 (2016).

  11. 11.

    et al. Are interventions to promote healthy eating equally effective for all? Systematic review of socioeconomic inequalities in impact. BMC Public Health 15, 457 (2015).

  12. 12.

    , , & Public views on policies involving nudges. Rev. Phil. Psych. 6, 439–453 (2015).

  13. 13.

    , , , & Public acceptability in the UK and USA of nudging to reduce obesity: the example of reducing sugar-sweetened beverages consumption. PLoS ONE 11, e0155995 (2016).

  14. 14.

    Beyond Evidence Based Policy in Public Health: The Interplay of Ideas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

  15. 15.

    et al. The behavior change technique taxonomy (v1) of 93 hierarchically clustered techniques: building an international consensus for the reporting of behavior change interventions. Ann. Behav. Med. 46, 81–95 (2013).

  16. 16.

    et al. A taxonomy of behaviour change methods: an intervention mapping approach. Health Psychol. Rev. 10, 297–312 (2016).

  17. 17.

    et al. Beyond nudges: tools of a choice architecture. Marketing Lett. 23, 487–504 (2012).

  18. 18.

    , & A review and taxonomy of choice architecture techniques. J. Behav. Decis. Making 29, 511–524 (2016).

  19. 19.

    Servicescapes: the impact of physical surroundings on customers and employees. J. Mark. 56, 57–71 (1992).

  20. 20.

    & Atmospheric effects on shopping behavior: a review of the experimental evidence. J. Bus. Res. 49, 193–211 (2000).

  21. 21.

    & A review of visual cues associated with food acceptance and consumption. Eat. Behav. 15, 132–143 (2014).

  22. 22.

    Environmental factors that increase the food intake and consumption volume of unknowing consumers. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 24, 455–479 (2004).

  23. 23.

    et al. Altering micro-environments to change population health behaviour: towards an evidence base for choice architecture interventions. BMC Public Health 13, 1218 (2013).

  24. 24.

    . et al. Altering Choice Architecture to Change Population Health Behaviour: A Large-Scale Conceptual and Empirical Scoping Review of Interventions Within Micro-Environments (Univ. Cambridge, 2013).

  25. 25.

    Nudging, shoving and budging: behavioural economic-informed policy. Publ. Adm. 93, 700–714 (2015).

  26. 26.

    House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee. Behaviour Change: 2nd Report of Session 2010–12 HL Paper 179 (The Stationery Office, 2011).

  27. 27.

    et al. Behavior change interventions: the potential of ontologies for advancing science and practice. J. Behav. Med. 40, 6–22 (2017).

  28. 28.

    & A Guide to Development and Evaluation of Digital Behaviour Change Interventions in Healthcare (Version 1) (Silverback, 2016).

  29. 29.

    Cochrane PICO Ontology (Cochrane, 2016);

  30. 30.

    , & Form of delivery as a key ‘active ingredient’ in behaviour change interventions. Br. J. Health Psychol. 21, 733–740 (2016).

  31. 31.

    , & Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology (MIT Press, 2015).

  32. 32.

    On Phenomenology and Social Relations: Selected Writings (Chicago Univ. Press, 1970).

  33. 33.

    et al. Nudging consumers towards healthier choices: a systematic review of positional influences on food choice. Br. J. Nutr. 115, 2252–2263 (2016).

  34. 34.

    . et al. Portion, package or tableware size for changing selection and consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. CD011045 (2015).

  35. 35.

    et al. Altering the availability or proximity of food, alcohol and tobacco products to change their selection and consumption. Cochrane Database of Syst. Rev. CD012573 (2017).

  36. 36.

    & Mapping health behaviors: constructing and validating a common-sense taxonomy of health behaviors. Soc. Sci. Med. 146, 1–10 (2015).

  37. 37.

    et al. Better reporting of interventions: template for intervention description and replication (TIDieR) checklist and guide. BMJ 348, g1687 (2014).

  38. 38.

    et al. Protocol for CONSORT-SPI: an extension for social and psychological interventions. Implement. Sci. 8, 99 (2013).

  39. 39.

    et al. Pinpointing needles in giant haystacks: use of text mining to reduce impractical screening workload in extremely large scoping reviews. Res. Syn. Meth. 5, 31–49 (2014).

  40. 40.

    Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 2014 —The Health of the 51%: Women (Department of Health, 2015).

  41. 41.

    Behaviour Change: Individual Approaches (NICE, 2014)

  42. 42.

    , , & Environmental interventions for altering eating behaviours of employees in the workplace: a systematic review. Obes. Rev. 18, 214–226 (2017).

  43. 43.

    & The efficacy of nudge theory strategies in influencing adult dietary behaviour: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health 16, 676 (2016).

  44. 44.

    , & Bias, prevalence and kappa. J. Clin. Epidemiol. 46, 423–429 (1993).

  45. 45.

    Handbook of Inter-Rater Reliability, 4th Edition: The Definitive Guide to Measuring The Extent of Agreement Among Raters (Advanced Analytics, 2014).

  46. 46.

    & The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics 33, 159–174 (1977).

  47. 47.

    KappaSize v.1.1 (2013);

Download references


The study was funded by the United Kingdom Department of Health Policy Research Programme (Policy Research Unit in Behaviour and Health (PR-UN-0409-10109)). D.O. is supported by the Medical Research Council (unit programme number MC_UU_12015/6). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Author information


  1. Behaviour and Health Research Unit, University of Cambridge, Institute of Public Health, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0SR, UK.

    • Gareth J. Hollands
    • , Giacomo Bignardi
    •  & Theresa M. Marteau
  2. Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.

    • Marie Johnston
  3. Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Institute of Public Health, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0SR, UK.

    • Michael P. Kelly
    •  & Stephen Sutton
  4. MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Box 285 Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.

    • David Ogilvie
  5. Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.

    • Mark Petticrew
  6. School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.

    • Andrew Prestwich
  7. EPPI-Centre, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, 18 Woburn Square,London WC1H 0NR, UK.

    • Ian Shemilt


  1. Search for Gareth J. Hollands in:

  2. Search for Giacomo Bignardi in:

  3. Search for Marie Johnston in:

  4. Search for Michael P. Kelly in:

  5. Search for David Ogilvie in:

  6. Search for Mark Petticrew in:

  7. Search for Andrew Prestwich in:

  8. Search for Ian Shemilt in:

  9. Search for Stephen Sutton in:

  10. Search for Theresa M. Marteau in:


G.J.H., M.P.K., D.O., I.S., S.S. and. T.M.M. conceived the study. G.J.H., G.B., M.P.K., D.O., I.S., S.S. and T.M.M. designed and conducted the workshops and reliability testing exercises. All authors conducted and interpreted the analysis. G.J.H. prepared the original manuscript, with input from G.B., S.S. and T.M.M. All authors drafted and approved the final manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gareth J. Hollands.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Notes, Supplementary Figure 1.

About this article

Publication history





Further reading