Publication of ‘Motivations and barriers to engagement with a technology-enabled community wide physical activity intervention’

Intelligent Health’s head of research Marc Harris has this week published an academic paper that examines the reasons for the success of Beat the Street.

Together with Professor Diane Crone, Marc has published a paper entitled ‘Motivations and barriers to engagement with a technology-enabled community wide physical activity intervention’ which is now available to view on PLOS One.

The research has been based on detailed interviews with some of the participants of the Beat the Street Wolverhampton game delivered by Intelligent Health in 2017.

The Beat the Street activity game was devised by Dr William Bird in 2010 and has since been delivered in more than 103 communities throughout Europe with more than one million people taking part.

Beat the Street aims to change levels of physical activity by turning a local area into a game where participants register their walking and cycling journeys by tapping a Radio-frequency identification (RFID) card on physical RFID readers called ‘Beat Boxes’. Beat Boxes are placed on lampposts throughout the locality, in green spaces and in places of local interest (such as museums, leisure centres and parks) at half-mile intervals.

Marc said: “Prior to this publication, little was known about why individuals were attracted to this type of initiative. This study provides novel insight into the motives which trigger individuals into these interventions. New research published in PLOS One suggests that physical activity interventions to be successful need to be simple to engage with, social in nature, promote social interaction and co-operation, encourage activity outdoors and provide a degree of healthy competition.”

The paper can be viewed here https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0232317

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