If you’re happy and you know it…

Are you happy? Are you content? Do you know the difference? Is there a difference?

It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to – I always thought I was happy. I laughed almost every day, felt settled at home and at work… but did that mean I was happy? Or did I not really have perspective on the bigger picture?

Looking at the results of a recent survey by Ipsos Mori, I’d say that I wasn’t alone in my thinking…be happy now

In the study of adults in 20 leading countries, more than three quarters of people said they were happy, but the majority of those asked wished their life was simpler. They had concerns about the future, the (fast) growing pace of globalisation and the effects of inequality.

I hadn’t even considered these factors when trying to figure out my happiness levels.

That said, when people were asked about their personal lives; their families and local communities, the response was more optimistic and positive. Whilst these did feature on my ‘Am I happy?’ list, they weren’t important – they weren’t a decision maker for me at the time.

Ben Page, Ipsos Mori’s chief executive says, “Against a pessimistic backdrop, this report shows the global public’s tendency towards nostalgia, allied to a strong sense that traditions are important, and a desire for a slower pace of life and simplification”.

It’s true – life passes by so quickly and it’s all too easy to miss opportunities and take for granted the smaller things that come our way. Like precious time with family and friends, having a quick catch up with your friends at the gym, taking time to appreciate what’s around you. All things that, on paper, seem so obvious, but not when hitting the gym becomes a chore and taking time out to socialise with your nearest and dearest feels like an inconvenience.

But what can you do?

Well, we all have our own ways of dealing with the challenges of everyday life, but for me, what worked was putting me first. Not in a selfish way (me, selfish?!), but in a way that made everything I did and do, no matter how big or small, count.

I started by ripping up my list – there’s no way to determine how happy you are, in my opinion. Just by taking notice of what and who was around me, the challenges I’d faced, the opportunities that came my way and by taking time just for me – for my goals, my aspirations and for my health in general – gave me a feeling of what I believe is happiness.

It’s my wellbeing, my energy, my positivity and my power to control far more than I first thought.

We can’t always control what goes on around us – it’s a big wide world, but we shouldn’t be ignorant to the factors that contribute to our everyday living. For me, acknowledgement and appreciation is key. They are two things we can all do with very little effort, but can actually make a world of difference to how we feel.

So, to answer my own questions, I’d say there was a difference in contentment and happiness. Maybe what I felt when I lived in the moment was contentment. I enjoyed what happened when it happened, but didn’t take into consideration the bigger picture… my own wellbeing.

More so than I first thought, my whole wellbeing is important; that includes contentment – the ‘living for the moment’ moments – my overall happiness and health.

After reading the article in The Guardian and reflecting on my own wellbeing, my pledge to myself is to take notice of as much as possible everyday, not just about me, but of what is happening around me. By doing this, I hope to continue feeling as positive and energetic as I am currently, so that I’m able to appreciate others and occasions far more. I can help out when my community needs me and I can support when my friends, family – even complete strangers – need me.

What would your pledge be to yourself, to ensure your own wellbeing and happiness?

 

Danielle Dixon, ICE Creates Ltd (danielle.dixon@icecreates.com)

 

Want more advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Check out Puffell, a brand new health and wellbeing digital platform, co-created with over a thousand citizens and designed to equip people to understand their own priorities, set goals and make journeys to change the things that impact how well they live.

Try Puffell for yourself, for FREE – http://www.puffell.com

 

Chronically ill and unemployed: benefits of returning to work

Is it harder to get a job with a long-term condition?

Times are tough these days and if you’re looking for a job right now, you’ll know that more than most. Getting your CV to the top of the pile seems like an impossible task. I know – I’ve been there!

What if you were unemployed with a long-term illness and what is classed as a chronic condition? Would this affect your chances of gettingChronic illness blog image 17.7
a job?

Employers aren’t allowed to discriminate against you, but the economic downturn means tougher competition in the job market. How would your new boss feel about time off work for appointments? The traditional working system of 9-5 will not work for everyone.

If only companies could be more flexible with their hours…

Here’s the good news…

Flexible hours: From Monday 14th July 2014, under new government measures, millions of employees will now have the right to request flexible working hours, but only if their employers ‘opt in’.

“Employers increasingly recognise the strong business case for flexible working, including enhanced employee engagement and the attraction and retention of a more diverse workforce” said the institute’s Chief Executive, Susannah Clements.

This is brilliant news for people employed for at least six months – but not such good news for those who are unemployed.

But what is classed as a chronic illness? Well, an illness controlled by medicines, but cannot be cured. These include:

Returning to work: Making sure you choose a job that fits around your condition is vital. If you’re returning to work, there are things to talk to your manager about:

  • Adjustments to your workspace
  • Changes to your working hours
  • Flexible working practices
  • Changing the way you work (for example, being allowed more breaks)
  • Equipment that may help reduce demands on you
  • Phased return to work after sickness absence
  • Adjusting performance targets
  • Redistributing work
  • Can you easily commute?
  • Can you go back to your current job?

“There is always something that you can do, and it might take a while to find out what that is, or it might change ten times, but there will be places out there that can help; whether that is working for yourself, someone understanding, or something else.”Natasha Lipman, chronic illness sufferer.

Working is good for your health – but why go to work if you have a chronic health condition?

Research has shown that working might actually be good for you!

“Working can also be a good way to keep healthy if you have a long-term condition like diabetes, COPD, heart disease, depression, stress, asthma or back pain.”Work4Health

Here’s how…

Working can:

  • Decrease social isolation
  • Help you remain active
  • Boost moral
  • Reduce physical symptoms
  • Improve your mood
  • Shrink depression or lower chance of depression

How to get back to work: If you want to get back into work and discuss your options, talk to your GP who can help you self-manage your illness. Failure to return to work has been linked to potential relapses of further long-term sickness absence.

Know your limits. Live the best way you can for the sake of your mind, body and health, and feel in control of your life again.

 

Max Willis (max.willis@icecreates.com / 0151 647 4700)

 

Junk food unsafe for children

Fast food is bad, it makes you fat. Don’t eat junk food. Blah Blah Blah…

You’ve heard it all before haven’t you? What’s wrong with taking your kids to fast food restaurants a few times a week or month – where’s the harm in a happy meal?

Fast food is damaging your children’s bodies – every time they eat it.Fast Food Blog Image

Damage to the arteries occurs almost immediately after just one junk food type meal, which a new study – published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology – has revealed.

As well as the obvious harm – obesity – too much junk food can lead to allergies like severe asthma, eczema and type 2 diabetes. Even cancer.

That’s frightening. But does that mean you shouldn’t eat fast food, ever?

Well, probably not. But let’s face it, we all like a bit of junk food every now and then. The trick is to try and keep it to a minimum, if you can’t cut it out completely.

Here’s why…

Over-consumption of junk food is a leading cause for childhood obesity, lethargy and sickness. Highly addictive fast food is engineered to be hyper-rewarding to the brain. The more you eat, the more you want it.

Junk foods are very high in calories and artificially processed, meaning they’re loaded with harmful trans and saturated fats. With fewer vitamins, minerals and low in fibre, fast foods are laden with sugar. What fast food lacks in nutrition, it makes up for in hidden dangers.

That’s pretty bad news for your children.

Risk of diabetes: Eating junk food twice a week doubles your child’s risk of developing insulin resistant diabetes (type 2), as well as your own, but that’s your decision, right? Of course, but what about your child’s choice? What if they were able to comprehend the damage it was doing to their bodies?

Asthma and eczema link to junk food: What about the link between asthma, eczema and fast food? Research shows that 6-7 year olds who eat fast food three times a week increase their risk of developing severe asthma and eczema by 27%, rising to 39% in teenagers aged 13-14. Allergies like these leave children burdened with pain, discomfort and a reduced life expectancy.

Not good. Now for the really scary bit…

Kids who eat junk are more at risk of cancer. 

Research has exposed the huge link between eating junk food as a child and getting cancer as an adult.

Expert nutritionist and author of ‘Eat to Live’, Dr Joel Furhman, says: “Many children eat donuts, cookies, cupcakes and chocolate on a daily basis. It is difficult for parents to understand the insidious, slow destruction of their children’s genetic potential and the foundation for serious illness that is being built by the consumption of these foods.”

What can you do to reduce the risk of serious illness in your children? 

Visiting fast food restaurants no more than once a week will cut the risk of diabetes by 50% and the regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is likely to protect against diseases such as asthma, eczema and cancer.

So, how did we get into this mess? Eating fast food has become completely normalised over the last 20 years, with a constant barrage of aggressive and highly persuasive adverts aimed directly at children. Research shows that more than 750 adverts from prime time TV were for food. 13% of those were for fast food chains, meaning our children are relentlessly bombarded and programmed to want more and more junk food.

Stop accepting junk food as the norm.

Who isn’t guilty of thinking junk food is a normal part of life these days? Maybe we’ve all stopped thinking about what we are putting into our bodies and our children’s. We’re increasingly time-poor, strapped for cash and stressed out by modern life. Junk food offers a cheap, enjoyable and convenient solution… but at what cost?

Maybe you never really knew how dangerous junk food could be. You know now though. More information is available now than ever before, which is why it’s so important to seriously consider cutting down or stop eating junk food altogether.

As soon as you start making small changes to your children’s diet by cutting down on processed junk food, the sooner you can begin to give them the best building blocks of life: a healthy body, healthy mind and a healthy future.

 

Max Willis, ICE Creates Ltd (max.willis@icecreates.com / 0151 647 4700)

 

The Upside of Downtime

Sleep deprivation is a nightmare (pardon the pun).

Not getting enough shut-eye is something that one in three of us experience at some point in our lives, and it has a significant affect on what we get up to during the day.

Lack of sleep affects all aspects of our cognitive and physical performance. It can limit our creativity, reaction times and in some cases, Sleepingbe fatal.

But here’s the question: If you’re struggling to count sheep, is it simply a matter of getting an earlier night? Or is it something more complex, like stress or an undiagnosed sleeping disorder?

It is estimated that 1 in 7 of us in the UK suffers from an undiagnosed sleep disorder, which could be due to the fact that there isn’t any specific treatment.

The benefits of sleep could be listed until the cows came home, but research in the US and China has led to the discovery of ways in which sleep actually consolidates memory and learning capacity. This means you perform better on more sleep as opposed to a late night work/revision cramming session and sleeping less.

Earlier this month, Professor Vincent Walsh from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London stated, “Employers should permit their employees to nap at work. Staff should be able to work hours that are most suitable for them for optimal performance”.

And actually, it makes sense. It is the duty of an employer to provide their staff with all the necessary tools to enable them to do their job and do it well; from desks, pens and notepads, to phones, computers and air-conditioning. Why not also equip them with the flexibility and encouragement to make the best possible use of the most valuable tools available to them: their minds, energy and creativity?

In fact, 35% of large and mid-sized organisations in the United States offer stress-reduction programmes of some kind. The Huffington Post has bookable nap rooms for its employees, and the Bank of England has even started offering meditation classes!

You’ve got to admit it, it’s a good idea, and with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia affecting an increasing number of people in the UK, it’s definitely worth a try.

Not getting enough sleep for long periods of time can lead to stress, heart problems, high blood pressure, obesity and mental health problems. If we start treating sleep as a vital health, safety and social issue, maybe we’ll all be able to take steps towards treating the disorders that are affecting so many of us today.

It improves your memory, makes you happier and forms part of a healthy lifestyle – the upside of downtime is undeniable.

 

Want more advice on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Check out Puffell, a brand new health and wellbeing digital platform, co-created with over a thousand citizens and designed to equip people to understand their own priorities, set goals and make journeys to change the things that impact how well they live.

Try Puffell for yourself, for FREEhttp://www.puffell.com

Sugar, obesity and the role of ‘sugar tax’

I’m the first to hold up my hands and admit it – I’ve got a sweet tooth.

The first step towards solving the problem is admitting that there is one, and when judgement day has come (i.e. the shutterstock_2249389appointment with the dentist), I have paid the price for my dalliance with sugary delights. What can I say? I’m 22 years old and still find chocolate irresistible. 

However, with childhood obesity on the rise, sugar is no laughing matter. Social media forums have exploded into public debate about a proposed “sugar tax” to help combat obesity and other conditions caused by it.

Sugar poses a serious threat to our health, more so than fat, and the concern of health professionals, experts and even teachers and parents has grown to a national debate over whether the introduction of sugar tax would be a positive step towards eliminating obesity, particularly in children.

Children are an age group most susceptible to the sweet allure of sugary foods and according to The Independent, one in five 10-11 year olds is obese, and one in three is overweight.

Obesity is a serious problem in any age group, but the rising obesity rates in children leave them at risk of prematurely developing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks and even heart failure. Together, these conditions are the most common cause of death and disability in the UK.

istockphoto_4933422-jump-rope-frameAs well as a sugar tax, other suggestions of how we can take positive steps towards reducing obesity include banning junk-food sports sponsorships, reducing the levels of fat in processed foods and even using vivid images of conditions caused by obesity on packaging to discourage people from purchasing them (a method very similar to the images found on cigarette and tobacco packaging).

The worst part is, despite obesity being one of the most preventable health issues that our health service deals with, it requires the most attention, as together with type 2 diabetes, it costs our health services an estimated £29bn every year.

Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, stated earlier this year that “we have a generation of children who may well not live as long as my generation“, due to being overweight and lacking an active lifestyle. She added that “research will find sugar addictive”, although there is no evidence to support this.

Although the potential benefits of a tax on sugar and other similar policies are clear, public opinion is divided. After all, children don’t pay tax and therefore, know very little about how this system would work, meaning it’s impact would be financial and felt by their parents, making these sugary treats more expensive, but no less appealing.

 

ICE Creates Ltd (ideas@icecreates.com / 0845 5193 423)

Why birthdays – and Puffell – make me happy

Today, team ICE are celebrating. That’s because one year ago we launched Puffell – an exciting new social Portrait of a group of business people laughing against white bamedia platform to help people be happier, healthier and improve their wellbeing.

‘Birthdays’ and ‘Puffell’ – two words that, for me, mean happiness and a reason to celebrate.

Why? Well, let’s start with birthdays.

I don’t know about you, but I just love birthdays! Seeing the delight on someone’s face as they blow out the candles on their cake never fails to bring a smile to my face. Even when a waiter brings out a surprise cake for a total stranger in a restaurant, I find myself enthusiastically clapping, singing along to ‘Happy Birthday’ and grinning like an idiot.

Yes, there might be another grey hair, more wrinkles and a few extra inches around the waistline, but so what? For me, birthdays are about friendships. They’re about the pleasure of giving and receiving, fun, laughter and shared moments of happiness.

So, what about Puffell?

Well, for me, Puffell is quite like a birthday. That’s because I use it to connect with friends – old and new – to give, receive, celebrate and share moments of success.

Winning the RaceOn Puffell, I’ve set myself goals – to be more active, eat more healthily – and I’m keeping a diary to track my progress. Too many evenings in front of the telly or on my smart phone have affected my health and my mood. I know a bit more activity and fresh air will make me look and feel better, but the World Cup, and soon the Commonwealth Games and Wimbledon, are getting in the way. I don’t need to watch sport, I need to do sport! That’s where my Puffell goals and friends are helping.

My friends know about my goals – to eat 5-a-day and walk for 20 minutes three times a week. My ultimate goals is to run 5k next year to raise funds for cancer research. I’m doing this not just to feel healthier and fitter, but to feel happier too, knowing I’ve achieved something that has helped others. But I’m a bit lazy. Without my friends and community on Puffell it’s all too easy to make excuses and give up.

Through Puffell I’ve found out about a new local walking club. Exercising with others is more fun iStock_000004475865Mediumand I want to keep going. My Puffell friends also help by sending me a ‘P-ark’. Similar to a Facebook ‘like’, a P-ark is a word or two of encouragement from a friend to spur me on – you know, a Puffell act of random kindness.

This time next year, I plan to be celebrating with friends again. Not just another Puffell birthday, but the goals that Puffell has helped us and other people achieve together.

Make this time next year your reason to celebrate too. Join our community at www.puffell.com

 

 

Marie Broeders (marie.broeders@icecreates.com / 0151 647 4700)

 

Five steps to organising a promotional flashmob

Promotional PR stunts are nothing new, and even though the flashmob has been around since 2003, they can still have a major impact on raising awareness of your cause.

Our latest flashmob was held in Buckinghamshire on behalf of the county council – a group of ‘shoppers’ spontaneously burst into song…

Check out the video here

Prevention matters is a free programme that offers “That little bit of help to stay independent and active”, run by Buckinghamshire County flashmob 1Council and really makes a huge difference to adults facing isolation.

The flashmob were disguised as normal shoppers going about their business. Suddenly, an old man rose from a nearby bench and began to sing the 1972, Bill Withers’ classic, ‘Lean on Me’, as other flashmobbers began to emerge from an unsuspecting crowd; drawing a positive and emotional response from the audience.

But what makes a good flashob? Here’s a few tips on setting one up:

1. Be clear on why you are doing it. For Prevention Matters, this was about raising awareness of an important new service that, although it has helped over 1,000 people in the last year, still needs to engage with people who need support, or people who know others that may need support.

2. Be relevant. Flashmobs always cause a stir, but you also need to make sure it is relevant to the cause: we used ‘Lean on Me’ because the lyrics perfectly fitted the message of seeking support from others around you, as they may need your support in future as well. Ensure any choreography and characters fit the message too.

flashmob 23. Get the right location. You need a ready made crowd to surprise – shopping centres are always good, but we also once used the entrance way to a hospital!

4. Recruit the right people. Use local volunteers, karaoke groups and amateur dramatic societies – make it relevant to the local area, many people love to perform and if the cause is right, they are often really keen. Make sure they rehearse and most importantly, ensure they disperse back into the crowd after the performance to entrench the illusion that the event was random.

5. Film it. Get the best quality you can afford and get it shared on social media platforms.

Remember, celebrate it afterwards!

 

Richard Forshaw (richard.forshaw@icecreates.com / 07540 412 304)

The ‘worried well’…

We are constantly bombarded with messages around health and stark news headlines warning of the latest health issueiStock_000014720258Small that we should be concerned about. So it’s hardly surprising that we over-examine and magnify the slightest symptoms we have; is my cough lasting more than three weeks? Do I feel bloated most days for three weeks or more?

Many people who are generally healthy tend to overly worry about their health. People are becoming ever more introverted and self-preoccupied and consequently do worry much more about their bodies. Many of the public health campaigns sometimes only seem to make that worse and given that health symptoms can now be looked up on the internet as rapidly as they appear, it’s not surprising that we are a nation of ‘worried well’ – people who are basically quite healthy, yet continually concerned about their health.

I’d like to point out, though, that being one of the worried well does not necessarily make you a paranoid hypochondriac. These days, if you’re not at least a little concerned about your health, you’re probably not paying attention.
iStock_000002306928SmallPaying attention is a good idea, because a whole raft of clinical evidence shows that many conditions, imbalances and diseases initially produce very subtle symptoms – say an odd sensation, off-feeling or mild irritation – and then progress to more intense ones, like inflammation, pain, tissue damage, cancer and ultimately, death.

Being one of the ‘worried well’ makes it more likely you’ll notice and deal with such problems early, before massive damage has been done and while they can be more successfully (and less traumatically) addressed.

Given the choice, I’d prefer to err on the side of caution, doing the things that bolster my good health, rather than undervaluing it and running it down over time. I know I’m not alone.

So, perhaps it’s time for our proactive faction of the ‘worried well’ to break from the hypochondriac pack and reframe our concern for our health as engagement, keen interest, appreciation and investment. Then, rather than accept the mocking label of the ‘worried well’, we can lay claim to a more positive, hopeful moniker. Maybe something like ‘the well-informed well’ – a designation that can be worn not with an apprehensive “uh-oh”, but with dignity, confidence and some healthy self-respect.

 

Paula Clay (0845 5193 423 / paula.clay@icecreates.com)

‘Why’ is more powerful than ‘how’

New research published by RTI International, indicates that “brief exposure to emotionally compelling anti-iStock_000007008727Smallsmoking television ads, with messages about why to quit smoking, can influence a smoker to quit within a month, while ads about how to quit smoking do not influence smoking behaviours”.

The study, published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, found that smokers who viewed ads featuring emotionally compelling reasons why to quit, were substantially more likely to quit smoking after the four week period. However, ads with messages about how to quit smoking had no effect on an individual’s smoking behaviour. The study also highlighted findings that suggest ads containing messages about why to quit smoking, that also feature strong, negative emotions or graphic images can influence smoking behaviours.

To me, as a stop smoking advisor, this makes absolute sense. It is so important to help people find the best way for them to stop smoking – and stay smoke free. But they have to be at that point to really benefit from this advice. Telling people about NRT/Champix, the ‘not a puff’ rule, what withdrawal symptoms they can expect, and how it gets easier after the first few weeks is all very useful, but if they have not reached the decision that they want to quit, it will be of little use to them.

The graphic images in anti-smoking adverts and the emotional pleas about being there for your family do seem to have a great impact. I’ve met with lots of clients who have spoken about TV ads, such as the ‘fatty cigarette’ and the ‘artery’ advert, which shows fat being squeezed from the arteries… these images really do stay with people.

Even if they dismiss it at the time, it must filter through as people do turn up to our clinics with definite ideas of stopping smoking, and importantly, why they want to stop. It is part of our job as stop smoking advisors to keep reminding people of these motivations along their journey – especially through the tough weeks when they may be tempted to relapse.

 

Sue Melville, Stop Smoking Advisor (stop4life.co.uk / help@stop4life.co.uk / 02476 582 069)

The role of health and social marketing

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England has recently been looking at the role of health and social marketing:

(This post originally appeared on Public Health England’s blog, Public health matters – https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk)

“Everyone remembers those iconic public health adverts – the ‘fatty cigarette’ or HIV tombstone TV ads, for example. But there is a lot more to health marketing than memorable and creative ideas – did you know that smokers have ordered over 2.3 million Quit Kits since they launched? Or that Change4Life’s Meal Mixer app has been downloaded by over 833,000 people as part of their Healthy Eating programme?

One of Health and Wellbeing’s role is to design and deliver national social marketing programmes. It’s a high profile area and we are fortunate to have a great team under Sheila Mitchell working on it. In this post, I want to talk about why it is a critical part of our offer, the science behind health marketing and what’s on the horizon.

Today, no professional health marketer would argue that education – or even exhortation – alone will change people’s behaviour. Changing ingrained daily habits or, in some cases, overcoming dependency is extremely challenging and requires much more than good intentions on the part of the individual. It is not enough to know you should change, or even want to change if that something is harder, more expensive or less pleasurable than your current behaviour. But just as we accept that education alone is insufficient, we should also acknowledge that significant and sustained change can rarely be accomplished without large-scale citizen engagement.

There is plenty of evidence that marketing can be effective, but also plenty to show that it isn’t necessarily effective. To maximise the impact of PHE’s work, our approach is increasingly to create big, multi-dimensional campaigning platforms that work within the wider policy context and complement other levers such as taxation or legislation. In each case, we don’t simply broadcast messages: there is a full customer journey with a programme of support, including evidence based interventions like SMS support programmes, drinks tracker apps and financial incentives (funded by the commercial sector) to make change easier, cheaper and more rewarding. Our programmes are also built to support our local partners – allowing local authorities, the NHS, schools, third sector providers and others to showcase the on-the-ground support (local stop smoking services, exercise classes, cooking programmes etc.) that they provide.

Our approach is gaining in sophistication and we increasingly deploy insights and techniques from the behavioural sciences to boost effectiveness. For example, Stoptober ‘chunks’ the process of quitting – stopping for a month is less intimidating than stopping forever – and once you’ve made it to a month, your odds of carrying that on are very good. It gives daily evidence based support to participants and creates a social network of people who are stopping together and supporting each other along the way. We know it’s popular as 275,000 people signed up and we know it’s effective – participants are four-and-a-half times more likely to make it to 28 days than those who go cold turkey! The Stoptober team have also embraced the live testing used so effectively by commercial organisations like Amazon. They are testing 24 variants of the Stoptober sign-up page in the first phase of launch and will pick the most effective to increase overall sign up rates.

So, that’s on the horizon for marketing? I’m really excited about building on our great results in areas such as early diagnosis and tobacco control, and applying the creativity, energy and dynamism of marketing in new areas such as Health Checks and mental health. I can also see a huge potential opportunity to enhance our programmes that smartly applied technology presents. For example, over two million people have signed up to our marketing programmes already, and using that data more effectively presents an amazing opportunity. Change4Life already had three top 10 health apps with over a million downloads – how do we build on that?

We’re currently starting to develop our marketing plan for the next two years, and PHE needs to make sure we go from good to great. If you’d like to be part of that development process, do let me know.

I’d like to finish with our top 10 principles for health marketing – what would you add to the list?”

10 principles for great health marketing:

  1. Make it easy, fun and popular – this is the most important one!
  2. Embrace popular culture, don’t ignore it. Do you know what your audience watches, buys and feels? If not, then why not? The most popular media channel for young people is YouTube, so that’s where we focus our national investment.
  3. Have behavioural objectives, not ‘awareness’ objectives. Awareness isn’t a goal in itself – just because people know something, it doesn’t mean they will do something.
  4. Have deep insight into the way the target audience live their lives – if people buy their food daily on offer from low-cost supermarkets, then do we reflect that in the recipes we provide to them?
  5. Focus on the benefits of a product (more time with your grandchildren), not the features (a Health Check).
  6. Be evidence based and make sure your work is contributing to the evidence base – test, test, test.
  7. Be obsessed with User Experience – we know that context and heuristics matter disproportionately – make it as easy as possible to get involved and stay involved.
  8. Use behavioural science as a foundation when you’re building programmes – we know that rational linear theories of change, such as Prochaska, don’t work, don’t use them.
  9. Think big about the potential of technology – why can’t Change4Life give every primary school child an accelerometer based tool and promote mass intervention? Why can’t we take the pulse of millions via a mobile phone app and help if some have arrhythmia?
  10. Integrate with other policy levers and partners for bigger impact.
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