Gym for Free: The short-term impact of an innovative public health policy on the health and wellbeing of residents in a deprived constituency in Birmingham, UK

Rabiee, F. and Robbins, A. and Khan, M. (2015) Gym for Free: The short-term impact of an innovative public health policy on the health and wellbeing of residents in a deprived constituency in Birmingham, UK. Health Education Journal, 74 (6). pp. 691-704. ISSN 00178969 (ISSN)

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Abstract

Background: This paper describes the process, impact and outcomes of an innovative health policy project entitled Gym for Free in Birmingham, UK. Objectives: To explore the short-term effectiveness of the pilot scheme in relation to access, utilisation, perceived benefits and sustainability. Design: Cross-sectional study using survey and focus group interviews. Setting: Community-based physical activity intervention programme. Methods: Data were collected using a validated questionnaire (n = 257) and focus group interviews (n = 9). Descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted where appropriate. Focus group interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Results: Findings showed that the pilot scheme increased the uptake of exercise particularly for women in an economically deprived inner city area. The use of leisure facilities also increased markedly (p < .05). Thus, the Gym for Free scheme was a step towards addressing health inequality by increasing access to and widening participation in exercise with multiple physical, mental and emotional benefits. Conclusion: Based on the findings of this pilot research project, Gym for Free won numerous national awards for its policy innovation, and, through the support and advocacy of the research team, was extended so as to be available to the whole population of Birmingham, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 7 days a week. © 2014 The Author(s).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health and wellbeing, health policy, inequalities, physical activity, widening participation, adult, African American, African Caribbean, Article, Black person, cross-sectional study, emotion, female, health care access, health care disparity, health care policy, human, interview, leisure, male, mental health, perception, physical activity, population research, priority journal, public health, questionnaire, social status, South Asian, stress, United Kingdom, wellbeing, young adult
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
Divisions: UoA Collections > UoA 03: Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing & Pharmacy
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Social Care, Health and Related Research (C-SHARR) > Health and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Yasser Nawaz
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 17:18
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2016 17:18
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1695

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