The initiative aimed to help families across the lifespan make their lives healthier, improve general wellbeing and explore ways to be more active.
The Manchester Metropolitan team, led by Dr Gladys Pearson, included Dr David Tomlinson (Research Associate) and PhD students Praval Khanal and Declan Ryan. The team supported the provision of vitality checks and physiological feedback for visitors. Tests included body mass index, body fat content (using bioelectric impedance testing), muscle function through handgrip strength, and muscle architecture through brightness-mode ultrasound.
Dr Pearson also gave a talk discussing the separate health issues of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, and how both accumulate and influence health. Unfortunately, the recommended levels of physical activity are seldom reached in western societies and, in the UK, the cost of care as a consequence of lower than recommended physical activity, is estimated at £10 billion a year to the NHS.
The evidence from Dr Pearson’s team suggests that, irrespective of physical activity levels, sedentary behaviour (e.g. sitting to watch TV or use a computer for lengthy time periods) is a distinct health risk.
The event was a resounding success, with many members of the public signing up to be contacted for current and future research studies. Professor Paul Holmes, Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange at Cheshire at Cheshire said "This public engagement project is an excellent example of how HEAL can showcase its translational research work. Improving general understanding of the effects of sedentarism is increasingly important and Dr Pearson and her team are leading researchers in this discipline."
The Programme Manager of the Alsager Partnership said: "The feedback on the day from visitors has been incredible and I have received further communication via email and on Facebook to say what a useful and informative day it was. We estimate that around 400 people came through our doors. A huge thank you to all of those involved."