Intelligent Health – March Newsletter

News

Beat the Street has got off to a running start in Wolverhampton with more than 22,000 local people picking up a card and getting active within the first two weeks. Most importantly, we have been especially successful in reaching the most inactive in the community.

We are also set to launch one of our biggest and most ambitious programmes yet in East Sussex. Funded by East Sussex County Council, the initiative will see the entire county transformed into a giant game – stretching close to 700 square miles across East Sussex.

Beat the Street can be life-changing for participants – watch our new video showing how our innovative initiative helped one retired resident in Hounslow get active, spend time with his family and re-connect with his local community.

Intelligent Health will be presenting at a number of conferences in the coming months – in May, Dr William Bird will be speaking at the King’s Fund’s Social Prescribing: From Rhetoric to Reality Conference.

Knowledge

Do activity monitors increase physical activity?

Motion-sensing technologies such as activity monitors and accelerometers have been an attractive tool to increase physical activity and decrease weight as they can provide objective, real-time feedback on physical activity for wearers. This study examined 14 physical activity interventions that used accelerometers. The results found that activity monitors had a positive and small impact on physical activity and weight loss and future studies should focus on how to integrate accelerometers with other strategies to increase physical activity.

Goode, Adam P., et al. “The Impact of Interventions that Integrate Accelerometers on Physical Activity and Weight Loss: A Systematic Review.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine (2016): 1-15.

What is driving obesity? The connections between obesity and motorised transport

This review examined multiple recent studies to explore the connection between car usage and obesity and potential interventions for reducing obesity. The authors of the review found there is emerging evidence that encouraging people to commute by public transport may be an effective at tackling obesity.

King, Douglas M., and Sheldon H. Jacobson. “What is driving obesity? A review on the connections between obesity and motorized transportation.” Current obesity reports (2017): 1-7.

What effects do different types of exercise have in the elderly with low-muscle mass and high obesity?

This study investigated the influence of resistance training, aerobic training and combination training on elderly patients with both low muscle-mass and obesity. Sixty participants were randomly assigned to different types of exercise for eight weeks. The results showed that all types of exercise — but particularly resistance training — had a significant impact on reduced amounts of fat and increased muscle mass.

Chen, Hung-Ting, et al. “Effects of Different Types of Exercise on Body Composition, Muscle Strength, and IGF-1 in the Elderly with Sarcopenic Obesity.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2017).

Engagement

Beat the Street has got off to a running start in Wolverhampton with residents travelling more than 78,000 miles in the first few weeks. Intelligent Health is trialing new ways of engaging inactive people in Wolverhampton which are already proving to be successful – more than 31% of adult players do 0 to 1 day of physical activity each week.

Our first game of 2017 – Beat the Street Milton Keynes – came to close this month with more than 12,000 residents travelling 85,000 miles over the course of the seven-week game. The game has helped thousands explore their area and in the coming months we will be helping residents maintain and build upon the changes they’ve made thanks to Beat the Street.

Our first games in the North-East England kicked off in Chester-le-Street and Ferryhill in County Durham with thousands of players joining within the first day. Meanwhile, anticipation builds in North Lanarkshire as representatives from local schools, community and politics came together to celebrate the return of the game in May.

To see the impact that Beat the Street has had in the months following the game, have a look at our recent successful racket festival in Tendring. The one-day sports festival was organised by Beat the Street, Tendring District Council’s Clacton Leisure Centre, Active Essex and coaches from the local area which saw more than 150 people try out new sports such as tennis, squash, badminton and other activities.

Evidence

We are pleased to announce that we have had two abstracts accepted to be presented at the American College of Sport’s Medicine (ACSM) annual meeting and the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) annual meeting. These events will draw upon our evidence over the previous 2 years combining data from the 33 interventions which have been delivered to-date.

Beat the Street turns an entire town/city into a real-life game where players register their walking and cycling journeys by tapping a smartcard on RFID readers called ‘Beat Boxes’ placed on lampposts around the town. Players monitor their progress via a website where they can see their own and their team’s progress, and the overall target. Our data collected throughout the last two years suggests that combining gamification with a mass social-norming campaign is a novel and effective way of transforming population levels of physical (in)activity and active travel.

In 2015, we delivered eleven Beat the Street interventions in the UK, engaged 170,000 participants and collected baseline survey data from 45,136 people. In 2016, we delivered twenty-two interventions in the UK, engaged over 500,000 people and collected baseline survey data from 80,098 people. In 2015, across all Beat the Street projects the proportion of people reporting 0 or 1 days of physical activity decreased by 6%.

The proportion meeting the WHO guidelines increased by 5%, and the proportion of people walking for travel on 5-7 days per week increased by 9%. In 2016, across all Beat the Street projects the proportion of people reporting 0 or 1 days of physical activity decreased by 5%. The proportion meeting the WHO guidelines increased from 9%, and the proportion of people walking for travel on 5-7 days per week increased from 15%.

The findings from the 33 Beat the Street interventions delivered across the UK in 2015 and 2016 suggests that turning an entire town/city into a real-life game is a promising approach to transforming population levels of physical activity and active travel.

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