Intelligent Health – September Newsletter

Our News

Intelligent Health’s Autumn programmes have got off to a running start in Stranraer where more than 27% of local participants have participants have picked up a card or fob and starting playing within the first seven days.

In Northern Ireland, we will be collaborating with Men’s Shed to help tackle isolation for older men in Belfast by inviting them to help support Beat the Street this Autumn.

The success of Beat the Street in Tendring has been recognised with Natasha Potter – Engagement Manager for Tendring – being chosen as an ambassador for the #ThisGirlCan campaign in Essex. The appointment will help support our work in Tendring to continue to support people to stay active.

Intelligent Health will be presenting abstracts and hosting stands at a series of conferences over the next few months. This includes presenting at HEPA in Belfast; Creating Healthy Cities and Investment in Sport and Activity in Manchester. We look forward to welcoming people to our stand at the Public Health England Conference this week at Warwick University followed by conferences in Scotland and Wales.

Beat the Street was featured in The Sun earlier this month after Falkirk FC midfielder incorporated the game into his pre-season fitness training. It has also been featured in New Start Magazine as an example of an initiative helping build better places in the UK.

Looking ahead, we are pleased to announce our first ever programmes in the North-East of England with Beat the Street coming to Ferryhill and Chester-Le-Street in County Durham in 2017.

Knowledge

Exercise after study reduces our calorie intake

In a paper published this month, researchers found that people who exercised after doing mental work ate fewer calories compared to those who did mental work and remained sedentary. This is an important finding suggesting that being active is not just about burning calories but reducing our desire to eat more.

Neumeier, William H., et al. “Exercise Following Mental Work Prevented Overeating.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise (2016).

Exergaming can help people feel better and reduce weight

Games like Wii Fit and Just Dance have the potential to slow weight gain and shows promise for getting people more active. A review of 202 studies showed that exergame play is positively associated with psychological well-being, but its effects on physiological outcomes are inconclusive.

Zeng, Nan, and Zan Gao. “Exergaming and obesity in youth: current perspectives.” International Journal of General Medicine 9 (2016): 275.

Living next to green spaces reduces inactivity

A study of the whole US showed that regardless of income those people living next to greenspace have the lowest levels of inactivity. We already know that greenspace is a place to go to get more active and also is more inclusive of everyone regardless of age and levels of fitness. This study shows that investing in parks and greenspace can help reduce the tide of inactivity.

Jiang, Yan, et al. “Association between natural resources for outdoor activities and physical inactivity: results from the contiguous United States.” International journal of environmental research and public health 13.8 (2016): 830.

Engagement

Beat the Street kicked off in Stranraer this month with more than 3,000 local residents getting active in the first week. It is a brilliant start to the newest series of Beat the Street programmes with projects in Northern Ireland, Salford, Hounslow, Southall, Terni and Sudbury & Great Cornard kicking off later this month.

In the lead up to our our upcoming games, our Engagement Teams across the country have been building links with schools, working with community groups and stakeholders, speaking on television and radio and building anticipation for Beat the Street.

Beat the Street continues to encourage communities to get active after the game has finished – in Tendring we have launched women-only Walking Netball sessions and in Birmingham we hosted a Beat the Street & Wot a Racket Festival that gave local residents the chance to try out a variety of racket sports.

Over the past month, Intelligent Health’s Engagement Teams across the UK have been building links with local organisations and initiatives including Ridewise in Nottingham, as well as British Cycling and Bikeworks in Newham. In Rhondda Cynon Taff we helped hundreds of school children get excited about cycling by helping them prepare to cheer on competitors in the Tour of Britain.

Evidence

To date, 205,000 people have taken part in Beat the Street with 300,000 people expected to have participated by the end of 2016. A quarter of these — over 53,000 people — provided crucial data on their health and activity levels which showed significant improvements in three areas:

  • Reaching the inactive — at the beginning of the game, 13% of people said they did 0 to 1 day of physical activity per week. This had been reduced to 4% by the end of the game (p<0.01).
  • Meeting Chief Medical Officer Guidelines — the proportion of adults meeting the physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week increased from 46% to 57%.
  • Switching travel behaviour — at the beginning of Beat the Street, 47% of adults reported walking 5-7 days perweek — this had increased to 61% by the end of the game.

Looking ahead, a steering group at Oxford University is independently investigating three elements of Intelligent Health’s behaviour change programme.

  • Recruitment — exploring how the methods and routes into participating in Beat the Street impact engagement.
  • Impact of events during the Beat the Street game on participants’ physical activity levels.
  • How behaviour change is sustained through Beat the Street, focusing on games held in Reading in consecutive years.

The findings of the study from Oxford University will provide further insight on our programmes and the results will help Intelligent Health engage even more people with greater effectiveness in the future.

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