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Intelligent Health – April Newsletter

By May 5, 2016March 9th, 2023No Comments

Our News

Intelligent Health were entered in for three UK Active Flame 2016 awards – and we were shortlisted for all three! These are the Physical Activity Campaign of the Year, Spark of Innovation and Healthy Partnerships all for Beat the Street.

Dr William Bird has also been shortlisted for Spirit of Flame 2016 – congratulations William!

Anyone who wants to get involved can vote by clicking here.

We will be at the Elevate conference on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 May come and visit us at our stand and listen to Dr William Bird and Veronica Reynolds in their sessions. William, alongside Dr Rupert Woolley, clinical lead at North and West Reading Clinical Commissioning Group will be speaking on implementing physical activity into the healthcare system. Veronica will be summarising Intelligent Health’s community approach to implementing physical activity and how to measure and monitor changes to health and wellbeing.

Elevate is the UK’s first cross-sector event bringing together academia, healthcare, government, the physical activity sector and performance experts to focus on an increasingly important and complex societal challenge: tackling physical inactivity.

For full conference information see here.


Standing Desks are being introduced in classrooms to prevent sedentary behaviour.

UK children spend more than 65% of waking hours sedentary. Sedentary behaviour has been found to track from childhood into adolescence and adulthood (Biddle et al., 2010). Therefore, the development of effective strategies to reduce sedentary behaviour is imperative for the current and future health of young people. A systematic review found very few studies but children that used standing desks burnt off more calories. There was no detrimental effect on their school work.

Sherry, Aron P., Natalie Pearson, and Stacy A. Clemes. “The effects of standing desks within the school classroom: A systematic review.” Preventive Medicine Reports (2016).

A study compared the nutritional intake between Intermittent fasting, Mediterranean diet and Paleo Diet.

All three had the same total calorie intake but the Intermittent fasting diet had reduced vitamin B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc when compared with the Mediterranean diet. Given that the Mediterranean diet can be more sustainable than the other two diets with equal weight loss and good nutritional balance it remains the most appropriate diet to follow for weight loss.

Tully, Alexandra Helen. A comparison of nutrient intakes among participants following three popular weight loss diets. Diss. University of Otago, (2016).

Is it better to be fit or thin to prevent dying from heart disease?

A study of 750 patients with existing heart disease were followed up. There was no difference in death outcome between the three groups of inactive patients who were normal weight, overweight or obese. However, patients who were physically active all showed a reduction in risk of dying from heart disease irrespective as to whether they were normal weight or obese. This shows that for heart disease being active has a greater advantage in staying alive than being normal weight.

Loprinzi, Paul D. “The fat-but-fit paradigm and all-cause mortality among coronary artery disease patients.” International Journal of Clinical Practice (2016).

Both fat children and unfit children have a higher risk of developing obesity and diabetes as adults.

However in a study in which children were followed up for 25 years fat children had no extra risk if they were fit at the time of measurement. However children who were unfit and fat were 8.5 times more likely to develop diabetes and obesity compared to children who were fit and thin. Children who were unfit who then became fit as an adult had a lower risk. So getting children fit can significantly reduce future health problems even if they remain overweight.

Schmidt, Michael D., et al. “Childhood Fitness Reduces the Long-term Cardio-metabolic Risks Associated with Childhood Obesity: 1354: Board# 90 June 1 9: 30 AM-11: 00 AM.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 43.5 (2011): 274-275.


Four Beat the Street programmes are completed, have held their prize giving events and begun their legacy. In Isleworth 36% of the borough took part in the competition in February and March and following this success the whole of Hounslow will play the game in the autumn.

Molineaux Stadium, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, hosted the ceremony in Wolverhampton and a similarly noisy event was held in Sandwell at the local fire station with a mini game around the engines!

Birmingham has been launching their legacy events including new women’s only sports sessions, bike rides with local partners and the local library hosting a sports day to continue to keep Handsworth moving.
Meanwhile programmes have begun in Rhonda Cynon Taf in Wales, North Lanarkshire in Scotland and in Nottingham. These are all funded by the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco. 39,053 players are enjoying the game across the three areas.

Nottingham has kicked off with great support shown by the council, Sport Nottingham, Sport England and Sustrans. Nottingham Trent University are keen to become involved to help international students to discover the city.

Reading is well into its third programme in as many years and the town has gone Beat the Street crazy travelling 140,000 miles in two weeks! The programme is supporting the Reading Year of Culture including a novel ‘sound map’ being delivered in association with NESTA at their Tomorrow’s Reading event in May. Nurturing our sense of place supports our health and wellbeing. As well as increasing physical activity levels we encourage people discover more about the place they live and connect with their community along the way.


We know Beat the Street gets people to change from car to walking and cycling to work and school and it appears that the affect lasts long after the Beat Boxes have been taken down. New habits are created during the live game which have their own intrinsic rewards of more time spent as a family, less stressful journeys, less congestion and happier children who arrive at school more ready to learn. New evidence on the how the game can effect carbon emissions has come from a recent project in Poland.

As Technical Support Partner to the EU-funded SWITCH campaign (, Intelligent Health delivered two Beat the Street projects in the London Borough of Hounslow and in Gdansk, Poland.

The central tenets of the SWITCH approach are that behaviour change is more likely to happen at key life-change moments (e.g. moving house or changing school) and using health arguments and ICT tools can enhance that behaviour change. Beat the Street was one of the ICT approaches, alongside apps and website challenges, that was tested as part of SWITCH.

The results of the campaign were presented at the SWITCH Final Conference in Bremen, Germany last month. We were delighted to see Beat the Street able to engage vast numbers of people in a way that other approaches often struggle to do. In Hounslow, 11,142 people took part in the campaign, making Beat the Street a much cheaper intervention than many apps which end up costing far more per person due to the low numbers who actually use them more than once.

The survey results from Hounslow indicate that:
– 55% of people reported using the car less after taking part
– 63% of people said they walked more because of Beat the Street
– When followed up 2 months later 70% of people said that they were still walking more.
In Gdansk, over 78% of the population of the three schools that took part participated in the game: 4269 people.

Over 3000 kilometres of car trips were replaced with walking and cycling trips which represents 630 kg of CO2 emissions averted.

67% said we had motivated them to use active travel modes more often and 29% said they were cycling more as a result even 2 months after the game ended.