An Excerpt from the Foreword for
Health Behavior Theory for Public Health, 2nd Edition
by John S. Santelli, MD, MPH
Theory is essential in understanding health behaviors and is critical in guiding health research. Theory helps us organize and understand information; it focuses attention on key issues; and it helps us select constructs for questionnaires. Theory is fundamental in designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions and in constructing policies to improve health and prevent disease. Thus, theory is essential to the work of public health.