Behavioural & Environmental Risk Factors


A deeper understanding of modifiable risk and protective factors is imperative for the prevention of disease and injury. Adopting socio-ecological perspectives of health encourages us to assess how multiple levels of influence, such as those related to behavioural and environmental factors, affect health and disease among populations, and how these contexts are interrelated. Behavioural risk and protective factors refer to personality traits and lifestyle factors such as dietary habits, physical (in)activity, sleep hygiene, sensation-seeking, alcohol consumption, substance use, sexual behaviours, gambling, and coping strategies. Environmental risk and protective factors encompass a broad range of factors related to socio-economic, ethno-cultural, political, and policy conditions, as well as factors related to the natural and built environment, such as neighbourhood walkability, access to parks, and local food environments. It also includes pollution from a variety of sources. The dynamic interplay among behavioural and environmental factors adds to the complexity of addressing public health problems, requiring interdisciplinary collaborations to develop innovative, multi-pronged solutions. Smoke-free legislation is a good example of how environments can impact health behaviour. Smoking bans protect non-smokers from the dangers of passive smoking and encourage smokers to quit or to reduce consumption.


To promote population health by conducting transformative and policy-relevant research on behavioural and environmental risk factors.


  • Conducting transformative and policy-relevant epidemiological research in the area of behavioural and environmental risk factors, with a focus on the distribution of these factors across different sub-populations and geographic areas.

Researchers in the Behavioural and Environmental Risk Factors Cluster