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Intelligent Health – May Newsletter

By May 30, 2016March 9th, 2023No Comments

Our News

This month Intelligent Health welcomed the announcement of the new five-year strategy from Sport England. Dr William Bird, CEO of Intelligent Health called the strategy a “huge step forward” at the launch of Sport England funded programme.

Beat the Street has been announced as a finalist for a Nudge Award – the world’s first behaviour change awards. You can view our video entry which was created on behalf of Intelligent Health and the London Borough of Hounslow.

As news about Beat the Street travels around the world, Intelligent Health has received recognition from Barbara T.H. Yen at Griffith University in Australia as a great example of gamification. Closer to home, Beat the Street has featured in the latest edition of APSE direct news.

We have also welcomed several new members to Intelligent Health including Engagement Teams in Tendring, East London, Southall and Belfast; as well as Marc Harris who joins the team as Researcher and Niall Norbury as Communications Officer.


Greater fitness as a teenager gives better chance of good health in middle age

Although we know that increased activity leads to less diabetes and pre-diabetes this study showed that even after 25 years teenagers with greater fitness still had less chance of being diabetic. This shows that getting teenagers more active will give them a better chance of good health in middle age.

Chow, Lisa S., et al. “Twenty year fitness trends in young adults and incidence of prediabetes and diabetes: the CARDIA study.” Diabetologia(2016): 1-7.

Being active leads to lower risk of cancer.

The main cancers influenced are breast, bowel and cancer of the prostate. However this huge study adds more cancers to the list including oesophageal (gullet), liver, kidney, stomach, womb, myeloma and head and neck.

Moore, Steven C., et al. “Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults.” JAMA internal medicine (2016).

Study shows regular emails increase physical activity of dog owners

You would think that owning a dog is enough to motivate walking. But according to a new study, it seems that being emailed every week over a year increases the amount of waking by about an hour a week. The emails contained messages of “self-efficacy, self-regulation, outcome expectations and expectancies, and social support”. Whatever that all means it obviously works!

Richards, Elizabeth A., Niwako Ogata, and Ching-Wei Cheng. “Evaluation of the Dogs, Physical Activity, and Walking (Dogs PAW) intervention: a randomized controlled trial.” Nursing research 65.3 (2016): 191-201.


Four successful Beat the Street programmes are coming to an end with several new competitions set to launch this month.

Over 46,000 people took part in Beat the Street in Reading and North Lanarkshire collectively. The Reading competition ended with a literally giant finale that saw a parade of 30ft puppets tap an over-sized Beat Box in the town centre.

Two programmes in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Nottingham are entering their final week with 32,455 players across both areas. Both programmes have been funded by the National Charity Partnership – a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco.

Beat the Street Liverpool North has kicked off successfully with over 3,000 players within its first two weeks. We will be launching a second project in Liverpool South later this month. Both competitions are delivered on behalf of Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and citywide strategic Stakeholders, as part of the city’s Physical Activity and Sport Strategy 2014-21.

Two new programmes are also set to begin in Tendring and East London from 8 June. Beat the Street Tendring is supported by Tendring District Council, Essex County Council and Active Essex who hope residents can discover something new about their area.

Beat the Street East London – which is delivered on behalf of the National Charity Partnership – is returning for its second year. Last year saw over 23,000 take part in the game and we hope even more will engage this year.

Beat the Street continues to promote physical activity after the game is completed through positive engagement with local communities. In Birmingham, we have been creating a powerful legacy for the competition through a series of events and initiatives developed with the local community such as a weekly session for women learning how to ride a bike, family fun days and the first ever sports event at Soho House Museum.


Department for Transport has announced the successful applicants to the Transition Fund for sustainable travel. We are delighted that we will be working with Milton Keynes, who were successful in securing funding, to deliver Beat the Street in the next year. We will be monitoring the impact of the programme on reducing car trips and increasing physical activity levels across Milton Keynes by encouraging children to walk to school and their parents to walk to work. Results from previous Beat the Street programmes, such as the one run last year in Hounslow, have demonstrated the potential impact on active travel. Hounslow Beat the Street was part-financed by the EC under the Intelligent Energy Programme as one of 5 city projects in the SWITCH campaign.

The main objectives for SWITCH were to encourage active travel using life-change moments, health arguments and ICT tools. It is estimated that Beat the Street saved 5070 car trips (just over 20 car trips for every campaign participant) and increased by 1.35 the number of days that people took 30 minutes or more of physical activity. The final report of the SWITCH campaign will be available shortly on our website and at

Evidence is one of Intelligent Health’s three core values. We are constantly striving to improve our evaluation and research methods to show Beat the Street’s impact on health and on active travel in the communities where it is rolled out. To this end, in May, we hosted a meeting with academics from University of East Anglia, Queen’s University Belfast and Oxford University to discuss potential areas for research based on the summary findings from the 2015 Beat the Street projects.

Our pragmatic approach to evaluation has yielded some excellent findings which have brought us to a point where we feel that there is scope for quasi experiment or controlled-trial of Beat the Street. We will be working with our academic colleagues over the forthcoming months to put this into action and, at the same time, publish the findings from our Reading project with the 12-month follow-up data showing sustained changes in behaviour.

A summary analysis of all 11 of the 2015 Beat the Street projects has been completed. The statistically significant change in the proportion of people meeting the Department of Health guidelines for physical activity (and sustaining those changes 5-8 months after the live game) has held, when amalgamating the data from all the 2015 projects. These changes also held when comparing individuals using a matched pair analysis based on ID card number. The most commonly reported ‘main benefits’ of Beat the Street were having fun (61%), exploring the local area (59%), getting fit (58%), feeling healthier (58%), spending time with friends and family (57%), and feeling part of the community (47%).

Nine out of ten people thought that Beat the Street helped them be more active (87%). Eight out of ten said they walked more (80%) and four out of ten said they cycled more than usual (36%). Half used a car less (47%). People said they continued walking more after Beat the Street (70%).

Average trip speeds increased from 6.0 to 7.2 km per hour throughout Beat the Street which may indicate increased fitness as people were able to move between Beat Boxes more quickly. 69% of people said they felt more a part of their community and 68% said they learnt more about their local area as a result of Beat the Street.

Over the coming months we will be further developing our evaluation methodology for active travel impacts and exploring other ways of capturing the impact of Beat the Street on well-being and community cohesion.