Changing physical activity behaviours: A success story

Today’s research in the Lancet came with the eye-catching headline that a lack of exercise now causes as many deaths as smoking across the world. In the UK physical inactivity is a widespread problem with nearly two-thirds of adults failing to take enough exercise to keep themselves healthy, according to the research.

From a behaviour change perspective, prompting sustained action on physical activity is a considerable challenge. Many barriers to change exist both at an individual level (e.g. lack of time, enjoyment or self-efficacy) and at an external level (e.g. home entertainment, the reliance on the car, reduction in occupational activity or lack of facilities).

However one project has demonstrated that, by applying key behaviour change principles (summarised in our public health behaviour change checklist) it is possible to achieve positive action. Continue reading