Department for Health

New collaboration will encourage older people to get more active

Wed Jul 23 14:34:00 BST 2014

 
Man and Woman sat on bikes

Researchers in our Department for Health are working with colleagues in Bristol on a major new project to help improve the health and wellbeing of older people.

 
 

A new Health Integration Team (HIT), involving researchers from our University, has been given the go ahead to improve activity and health in later life for local people

Approved by Bristol Health Partners, the new ‘HIT’ partnership will bring together research and expertise from the Universities of Bath, Bristol and UWE-Bristol.

HITs are cross-organisational and interdisciplinary groups set up to harness research, innovation, education, healthcare and prevention strengths to improve health outcomes. They are tackling major health priorities by working together in a new integrated way.

The new HIT, known as the Active People: Promoting Healthy Life Expectancy (APPHLE) HIT, is hosted by Bristol City Council and led by Professor Selena Gray, Professor of Public Health, UWE-Bristol, and Dr Afroditi Stathi, Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity, Ageing and Health, within our Department for Health.

Sedentary behaviour dramatically increases health risk in older people and disproportionately affects people with low socio-economic status, leading to health inequalities. Working with academics, commissioners, clinicians and lay representatives, the HIT will look at what data is already available to monitor physical activity levels and the current provisions for promoting physical activity for older people.

Dr Stathi commented: "The APPHLE HIT provides an excellent opportunity to share research and learning with multidisciplinary academic teams, policy makers, public and private health and leisure service delivery agencies and user groups. We will work towards ensuring scarce resources are invested in the interventions most likely to succeed and so increase activity amongst older adults, improving their health and reducing the burden on the NHS and social care services."

Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health at Bath & North East Somerset Council, added: "We are very excited to be part of the APPHLE HIT as it will provide a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge, develop evidenced based activities and increase activity amongst older adults. This fits very well with our Fit for Life Strategy for B&NES and we are particularly keen to develop new innovative partnerships with third sector organisations, communities and industry to enhance local opportunities for physical activity."

The team will assess whether current local interventions are effective. Longer-term, this evidence-based approach will lead to the development of a range of interventions to benefit older people’s health and make the healthy choice easier.

Find out more about APPHLE online »