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Intelligent Health – June Newsletter

By July 6, 2016March 9th, 2023No Comments

Our News

An exciting and ambitious new plan to increase physical activity in the West Midlands is being developed with the support of Intelligent Health. ‘West Midlands on the Move 2016-30’ is being created by the newly vested West Midlands Combined Authority to deliver economic growth and improve the health and wellbeing of the population.

Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said “Intelligent Health’s input has been vital in developing our Physical Activity strategy and bringing together a great series of partners to support the delivery. Over 30% of the West Midlands population is inactive and our vision is to improve the quality of life of everyone who lives and works in the West Midlands. The knowledge and evidence that Intelligent Health is providing will establish the foundations to help the people in our Combined Authority to reach their full potential.”

After being nominated for four awards at this year’s Flame Awards, Intelligent Health walked away as one of the biggest successes of the night after winning three categories. We took home awards for Physical Campaign of the Year, Spirit of Innovation and Healthy Partnerships for Beat the Street programmes across the UK.

In addition to our success at the Flame Awards, Intelligent Health and the London Borough of Hounslow received a Silver Nudge Award earlier this month. The Nudge Awards celebrate pioneering real-life applications of behavioural science.

Intelligent Health has been promoting the connection between health and nature, with CEO and Founder – Dr William Bird – attending the launch of Maudsley Hospital’s new horticultural garden and speaking at Charter for Trees’ Talking Trees event in the past month. Read Dr Bird’s blog on why ‘Trees are in our nature’ on Charter For Trees’ website.

Also this month, Chairman of Intelligent Health’s Executive Board — Mark Lund — has been recognised for his services to the advertising industry after receiving an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


Can exercise after a period of work reduce appetite?

When we sit down and perform mental work we are more likely to overeat. 38 students all completed 20 mins of mental work and then either rested or exercised for 15 mins. They were then allowed to eat as much as they liked at a pizza buffet. Those that exercised ate less than the rest group and when the additional calorie expenditure was added they were in significant negative balance. This study demonstrates exercising at lunchtime or after work can actually reduce appetite and therefore help you lose weight.

Neumeier, W.H., Goodner, E., Biasini, F., Dhurandhar, E.J., Menear, K.S., Turan, B. and Hunter, G.R., 2016. Exercise Following Mental Work Prevented Overeating. Medicine and science in sports and exercise.

How important is exercise in pregnancy?

This review was a summary of all studies that looked at this subject (A meta-analysis of RCTs) and it showed that exercising during pregnancy resulted in lower weight gain, lower risk of preterm delivery, lower likelihood of gestational diabetes, and lower likelihood of delivering a large-for-gestational-age infant (which is associated with gestational diabetes). The evidence is clear; walking and other exercise is vital for the health of the mother and baby.

da Silva, S.G., Ricardo, L.I., Evenson, K.R. and Hallal, P.C., 2016. Leisure-Time Physical Activity in Pregnancy and Maternal-Child Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials and Cohort Studies. Sports Medicine, pp.1-23.

Can a weekly Zumba class make you healthy?

A systematic review found that Zumba classes once a week increases fitness, reduces body fat (slightly) and in some studies reduced signs of inflammation. Quality of life factors of physical functioning, general health, energy/fatigue, and emotional well-being all improved significantly. Zumba® fitness even just once or twice a week can improve health and wellbeing although the weight loss is small.

Vendramin, B., Bergamin, M., Gobbo, S., Cugusi, L., Duregon, F., Bullo, V., Zaccaria, M., Neunhaeuserer, D. and Ermolao, A., 2016. Health Benefits of Zumba® fitness training: a systematic review. PM&R.


Three new Beat the Street programmes have begun in East London, Tendring and South Liverpool this month with 40,000 participants across all three areas running, walking and cycling to improve their health.

We have also celebrated the completion of Beat the Street in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Nottingham, North Lanarkshire and Reading. Through all four programmes we reached more than 79,000 people and helped them take positive steps in becoming more physically active.

Our initiative in North Liverpool has been extended by three weeks. The game will now finish on Wednesday 20 July alongside a scheme taking place for communities in South Liverpool.

Intelligent Health continues to encourage communities after each game is completed – in Hounslow we have been consulting with schools to understand how Beat the Street and its legacy can help make their students more physically active. In Birmingham, we continue to build upon the legacy of the game by using the power of Beat the Street to engage new audiences to take part initiatives such as Active Parks to deliver free sport sessions for local residents.


Beat the Street projects in 2016 continue to deliver meaningful changes in population physical activity levels. On average, across all Beat the Street projects, the proportion of people meeting the physical activity guidelines increased from 40% to 50%. Longer term follow-up of our 2015 Beat the Street projects shows that these changes were sustained between 5 and 6 months later.

In 2015, one out of every seven adults said they were inactive at the start of Beat the Street. By the end of Beat the Street 78% of these people reported that had become more active. After about six months, we estimate that about half of the people who became more active continued to be more active.

One of the most consistently reported benefits of Beat the Street is that it helps people to walk more. Looking at those who said they walked zero to two days per week at registration in Beat the Street, Reading 2016, the data shows that this group walked a lot more by the end of Beat the Street. These people changed from walking an average of one day per week to an average of four days per week at the end of Beat the Street. Two thirds of people in this group said they walked on three or more days per week by the end of the initiative (66%). This suggests that Beat the Street may have encouraged those who were most inactive to walk more.

Funded by the local Clinical Commissioning Groups and Public Health, Beat the Street Reading is now in its third year. The overall trend is for a reduced proportion of inactive in every year and an increased proportion of participants meeting the physical activity guidelines every year.

When people were asked about the ‘main benefits’ they derive from taking part, ‘having fun’ and ‘exploring the local area’ consistently come up in the top 5 reported main benefits; Beat the Street delivers ‘health by stealth’!

Following our success at this year’s Flame awards, interest in Beat the Street has never been higher. We are delighted to be returning to Scotland and Italy, with projects kicking off in Stranraer and Terni delivering live game phases in September. Sudbury in Suffolk will seek to rival the success of last year’s project in Lowestoft and the Hounslow-wide project will benefit from working alongside Beat the Street in Southall, Ealing. New projects for 2017 will see Beat the Street expanding into the North East and North West of England.

For more information, please get in touch with us via: to find out about how Beat the Street can deliver on your physical activity and active travel objectives.