Want to be healthier? Do something different

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An innovative scheme funded by Hertfordshire County Council to encourage people to adopt healthy behaviours has won a national award.

The Do Something Different scheme, developed in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, was awarded the Health and Wellbeing Award from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in recognition of its “innovative and creative approach to supporting behaviour change of individuals in Herts”.

The online programmes, which were piloted in 2014/15 and further developed this year, provide individually tailored programmes to help residents improve their lifestyles, including healthy weight, happiness and stress reduction.

Cabinet member for public health, Teresa Heritage, said: “Herts County Council wants its residents to live long and happy fulfilling lives. Our online pilot programme with Do Something Different shows that people with long-term conditions can see real improvements.”

The Do Something Different in Herts programmes are the brainchild of Prof Ben Fletcher and Prof Karen Pine from the department of psychology at the university.

The idea is that, rather than thinking or learning about a change in your lifestyle, you follow a series of ‘Do’s’ that will help you to make the change in small, manageable steps. Each Do is chosen to help people try new, healthier ways of doing things and to share what they are doing with others.

A survey of nearly 1,000 people at the end of the programme showed feelings of personal wellbeing up by 21 per cent, anxiety and depression down significantly, physical activity up by 37 per cent, alcohol consumption down by 20 per cent, fruit and vegetable consumption up by 29 per cent and weight down by an average of 5.8lbs in six weeks.

The programme is available free of charge to anyone over 18 who lives in Hertfordshire. There are a limited number of places available on each programme.

Find out more at www.hertsdirect.org/dosomething