Carrot Health Insights | Healthy Behavior #4: Chow Down

Published on February 27, 2018

Please drop that donut. And step away from that soda machine. Your body will thank you… and so will our healthcare system.

In the last several issues of Carrot Health Insights, we’ve been discussing the “Big Four” consumer lifestyle behaviors that affect population health and cost outcomes. To recap: a person cuts his or her risk of cancer by 60%, and risk of most chronic illnesses by 80%, if he or she consistently does these four things:

  • Doesn’t smoke (see here)
  • Gets around 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (see here)
  • Has a normal body fat percentage (see here)
  • Has a healthy diet

Unfortunately, 82% of the US population demonstrates zero, one, or two of these behaviors. As a result, our country is suffering from an epidemic of chronic illness.

What can data science tell us about the social and behavioral factors that influence diet? Building an analytical model that accurately predicts whether someone has a healthy diet is tricky, because we don’t know the exact meals and snacks that people eat every day. But data science can uncover hidden information in the data we do have. By pre-selecting only nutrition-related parameters from our repository of consumer data, and then discovering which ones are predictive, our data science team constructed a working “Healthy Diet” model.

It turns out that this nutrition-only model predicts about 20% of the overall variation in a population’s health — other social and behavioral factors explain the rest. Here are some of the nutrition-centric data variables that are most strongly correlated with good health:

Healthy Diet Model – Correlative Factors

Using social and behavioral insights like the Healthy Diet model, health professionals can better understand exactly who in their covered populations may be at risk — and why. This knowledge can allow health systems and health payers to deliver more effective, personalized interventions to at-risk individuals — maximizing the impact of their population health initiatives.

Carrot MarketView can bring this data, and customized models like the Healthy Diet model, to your organization. To learn more about our Healthcare Business Intelligence software platform, please contact us to schedule a demo.

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