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Snacktivity: to Promote Physical Activity and Reduce Future Risk of Disease

What is Snacktivity?

Guidance states that over a week, adults should achieve at least 150-minutes of at least moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity, and this is typically promoted as 5 sessions of at least 30 mins of physical activity per week. Achieving this guidance however means the public need to make large changes to their lives and very few people currently achieve this guidance.

An alternative whole day approach to current physical activity guidance that could engage and motivate the public to be more physically active is a concept we have called Snacktivity. Rather than focusing on encouraging 150-mins per week of physical activity (~30-mins per day), Snacktivity focuses on promoting small, but frequent, doses or snacks of regular activity throughout the day. A physical activity snack typically lasts between two and five mins, e.g., walk-talk conversations, walking coffee breaks and using stairs not the lift.

Snacktivity may help the public to develop confidence to try to become regularly active as small changes are easier to do. But currently it is not known whether the Snacktivity approach is acceptable, effective, or easier to sustain over time. The Snacktivity approach may also be particularly appropriate for specific populations such as the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic diseases, who may be reluctant to engage in physical activity. This programme grant will explore these questions with the public.

How will the Snacktivity study work?

Participants will be randomised to receive current guidance about physical activity or the Snacktivity intervention. The Snacktivity intervention is designed to be delivered by health care professionals and only takes five minutes to deliver within consultations. It will use a mobile phone App (called the SnackApp) synchronised with a physical activity tracker (FitBit) to help patients to self-monitor their Snacktivity throughout the day. It will also offer prompts and feedback on how much Snacktivity they are doing.

What will the study involve for GP practices?

This study is due to start in January 2021 for 12 months. We would need practices to agree to Nurses and Health Care Assistants to promote the Snacktivity intervention within consultations. Each practice would recruit up to ten patients over two-three months. As the study is very simple it only involves one hour of training for Nurses/Health Care Assistants.

We are looking to recruit practices who have not taken part in the earlier Snacktivity studies. The CRN will provide support with patient searches and invitation mailings.

Practice re-imbursement

Practices will receive research and service support costs in line with usual rates. In addition, for those practices that are part of the Research Site Initiative Scheme, they will be entitled to an additional RSI payment.

If your practice interested in taking part and is located within the West Midlands Central region, or would just like to find out more about this study, please contact Sheila Bailey, local Research Facilitator mob: 07811 242028