Eat and move your way to better health

Client: Office for Health Improvement and the Disparities (OHID)

Tackling obesity is one of the greatest long-term health challenges this country faces. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of adults in the UK are overweight or living with obesity. This increases to 74% of Black adults and 56% of Asian adults are overweight or living with obesity.

Helping people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things we can do to improve our nation’s health.

We were tasked with encouraging better eating habits and more active lifestyles amongst Black and South Asian adults, in particular, those aged 40 to 60. We also needed to make clear the risk associated with carrying extra weight, and how this can exacerbate certain health conditions that are more common amongst Black people and South Asians.

We knew, through our insights, that it was essential to develop culturally relevant content whilst finding the right balance to feature ‘people like me’, reflecting cultural foods without demonising traditional dishes.

We tapped into the state of the nation, as many of us battled weight gain and inactivity during the pandemic, and delivered a timely news story revealing how different communities’ eating and physical activity habits had been affected by the pandemic. As part of our media relations activity, we worked closely with South Asian and Black dietitians, fitness and healthcare experts, and positioned the easing of lockdown as an opportunity to make healthier choices in the food we eat and quest to be more active.

We created content series such as Family Food Stories and Joy of Running. Family Food Stories demonstrated simple adjustments to preparing traditional dishes that make meal-times much healthier without compromising on taste. Joy of Running showed how everyday people used the NHS Couch to 5K app to achieve their fitness goals, with our fitness expert offering tips on how to be more active. We shared our content packages across social channels and media outlets that reach our communities. This included advertorials in English, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu and Gujarati, and broadcast interviews with our experts.

We also mobilised community groups to deliver Better Health events to encourage our communities to eat healthier and to be more active.

Campaign tracking showed that the recall rates were higher amongst our communities than the average all adult recall rate. Furthermore, research highlighted how well the activity resonated with our communities, creating greater engagement, motivation and confidence to take action.