How BetterPoints can help lower all-cause mortality rates by encouraging small changes in behaviour

Sara Sanderson - 17 febbraio 2017

A little goes a long way, and recent research reveals that some exercise is better than none; it also suggests that secondary benefits of healthy activity ensure those health improvements are unlikely to unravel. This is good news for us because it validates our motivational approach to public health.

Two UK reports show that even people getting less than the recommended amount of physical activity per week had a substantial reduction (close to 30%) in all-cause mortality compared with those taking no moderate to vigorous exercise.

Our end of programme survey's report that people continue to use the app and that their level of activity has increased, so we know already that BetterPoints’ Behaviour Change Management System (BCMS) can help our clients with various public health agendas. A key behaviour change that we have experienced in is engaging non-active individuals and incentivising them to become healthier, such as by doing a bit more walking, running or cycling.

But it doesn’t stop there, because users report that the activity we motivate in them has secondary benefits that also act as motivators. These include lower anxiety levels, fewer symptoms of depression, better control over weight and more quality time spent with family. These secondary benefits that our users experience from being a bit more active mean they are unlikely to ever return to being inactive.

Dr JoAnn Manson, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital reviewing the two recent UK reports said:

“It is a very good clinical public health message that some moderate to vigorous physical activity is substantially better than none, and that more is at least slightly better than some. We should encourage patients who are unable to meet the target, or who have to compress activity into one or two sessions per week or the weekend, to stick with it and be as active as they are able. We can expect that any activity will be better than none.”

BetterPoints BCMS is designed so that it can be used in many different ways to best suit our clients’ needs and desired outcomes. This makes it a very versatile tool for tackling public health issues. It means as new research into various aspects of public health emerges the BetterPoints system can respond quickly, always providing our clients with a product that is fit for purpose, produces relevant data and helps achieve desired outcomes.

Further research is needed on types of activity that yield the best health benefits, and the functionality of BetterPoints means a programme can be designed to include whatever activities the client wants. Activities can also be added or removed during the lifetime of a programme, if necessary and appropriate to do so.

BetterPoints programmes run for at least 30 days (usually 6 - 12 months) and the legacy of these programmes indicate a real benefit to public health. For an example, read about this month’s featured programme in Birmingham.

To discuss setting up and running a pilot programme or to talk about how BetterPoints can support you to achieve positive health or active travel outcomes, email us.


References

Physical activity guidelines - moderate-intensity exercise for about 30 minutes most days of the week (a total of 150 minutes/week) or vigorous exercise for half that amount of time (75 minutes), spread out over three or more sessions per week. Story, references and quote taken from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/875779

Report 1. O'Donovan G, Lee IM, Hamer M, Stamatakis E. Association of "weekend warrior" and other leisure time physical activity patterns with risks for all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Jan 9. Report found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28097313

Report 2. Oja P, Kelly P, Pedisic Z, et al. Associations of specific types of sports and exercise with all-cause and cardiovascular-disease mortality: a cohort study of 80,306 British adults. Br J Sports Med. 2016 Nov 28. Report found here: http://press.psprings.co.uk/bjsm/november/bjsm096822.pdf