NIHR CLAHRC West awarded £7,500 by the Brigstow Institute for CMO physical activity guidelines project

13 December 2018

NIHR CLAHRC West has secured £7,500 from the University of Bristol’s Brigstow Institute to work with several community groups to understand how best to communicate the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) new guidelines on physical activity.

The Government will publish the new guidelines in 2019. They will recommend how much physical activity people should do and what types of physical activity most benefit health. The new guidelines will be based on a comprehensive review of the latest research.

Through this project, the CLAHRC West team, alongside collaborators Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC), will make the physical activity guidelines more meaningful and useful for members of the public.

The project team are planning three pieces of work. They will work with three or four community groups in the Knowle West area of Bristol. They will run several workshops for these groups to understand what physical activity means to them, and how best to communicate physical activity messages to their community.

Some people in these groups will also see themselves as being physically active, despite the modern world being designed in a way that encourages inactivity. The second piece of work will use an approach called ‘creative non-fiction’ (CNF) to create several emotive, first person case studies that illustrate how people have managed to be active. The CNF case studies will be co-produced with people who attended the workshops. KWMC will then work with the public contributors to create short films based upon each CNF case study.

The final piece of work will be to create a toolkit for communications and healthcare professionals that provides advice and guidance on how to tailor physical activity messages to various community groups. They will work with the end users to ensure that the toolkit is as useful as possible. This toolkit will include information about the language people prefer and the best ways to share physical activity messages, for example via videos, pictures or media campaigns.

Underpinning this project is KWMCs six-phased framework to community engagement – the “Bristol Approach”. The framework makes sure that the public are involved in the design, testing and evaluation of socially-beneficial products, such as the physical activity guidelines. The Bristol Approach has been used on issues surrounding food waste and damp in homes. This work will help to strengthen the usefulness of the Bristol Approach by adopting it in a new field of research.

Dr James Nobles, who is leading the project, said:

“We are delighted to have achieved this award from the Brigstow Institute. It means that the full potential of this project can be realised, and that we can work closely with our community partner, Knowle West Media Centre, on this innovative project.

“We know that there are endless benefits of physical activity, both for individuals and society, and so it’s essential that any attempt to encourage people to be physically active is communicated in the most effective way. This project will help to ensure just that.”

Image credit: World Obesity Federation