Intelligent Health’s innovative walking and cycling game, Beat the Street, may be ‘a promising approach to increasing physical activity at a community-wide level’ according to a new paper published in the Games for Health Journal.
The paper — based on independent data analysis from the University of East Anglia — analyses the impact of Beat the Street in Wolverhampton where more than 25,000 residents participated in the physical activity initiative in 2017. The game was funded Sport England, the National Lottery and City of Wolverhampton Council.
Beat the Street is an award-winning physical activity initiative that encourages people to be physically active by turning their community into a giant game. Schools and businesses compete against each other by tapping cards against sensors to earn points, track their journey and help their team win prizes.
Beat the Street participants were found to have increased their weekly walking by 180 minutes per week and their weekly physical activity by 335 minutes per week.
Additionally, the paper – written by Marc Harris, Evidence Lead for Intelligent Health – noted that a “Cochrane systematic review concluded insufficient evidence for current community-wide physical activity interventions, citing scalability as a major contributory factor, with many of the interventions failing to reach a substantial proportion of the community due to the difficulties in implementing such programs. The current pilot evaluation demonstrates that Beat the Street was able to address previously cited issues with scalability by engaging 25,790 people into the physical activity intervention”.
The Games for Health Journal is produced by the Games for Health Europe Foundation — a professional organisation that aims to bring together game development and healthcare to see how game technologies can improve health.
Dr William Bird, CEO and Founder of Intelligent Health, said: “We are incredibly proud of the evidence from our Beat the Street programmes which have consistently shown that the initiative has increased physical activity, decreased inactivity and promoted active travel.
“It is fantastic to see Beat the Street featured in Games for Health Journal as a promising example of how gamification can be used to improve health not only at an individual level, but on a town or city-wide level.”