I-PARC attends the SPARC conference

I-PARC attends the SPARC conference

The event’s theme this year was ‘communicating the message’ – how to ensure that policy, practice and research on physical activity for health are communicated effectively to all sectors of the community. SPARC 2019 saw the largest group of researchers, practitioners and policy makers come together to present and communicate their work IMG_2504regarding all things physical activity. The event, including 56 presentations (orals and posters), was held in the John McIntyre Conference Centre in Edinburgh and was co-hosted by the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Government. Prof. Nanette Mutrie (University of Edinburgh) welcomed the 180 delegates to SPARC 2019 and introduced the day’s first speakers, Lee Craigie and Prof. Gerard Hastings.

Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland, kicked off the day with an inspiring talk about her quest for getting more people active in Scotland. A key point made by Lee noted that collaboration can be effective for positive behaviour change but all stakeholders need to respect each other and work together towards what is usually a common goal. Lee also encouraged us all to shout about the positives or the good things that come from our work. This can be something as simple as posting a picture of why you are active or promoting activities in your local area to your friends and family. You can find out more about Lee on Twitter by following @leecraigie_.

The keynote for the day, Prof. Gerard Hastings, gave a very insightful talk on “How Social Marketing Can Get People Moving”. Delegates were shown the pros and cons of social marketing and given ideas of how it can be used to positively influence population activity levels in the future. Prof. Hasting advised us to see the world through the customers’ eyes when trying to promote a product or in this case a physical activity intervention. Before you have a product or intervention it is essential to ask yourself “Who do we want to do what, and how are they going to do it”. Every delegate was encouraged to be a critical thinker and continue to challenge the system that is in place aiding with the change for better societies and better health for all. A key message that will stick with delegates is to “do things with people and not to them”.

IMG_2519.jpgDuring the breaks delegates could network and check out some of the creative and interactive posters presented by individuals from different sectors and regions in the UK and Ireland. Delegates were also offered the opportunity to be active and engage in a silent disco! Dr. Joey Murphy and Ms. Jemima Cooper presented a poster providing an update and key learnings from I-PARC. I-PARC gained a lot of positive feedback from delegates with key interest in the way government departments and agencies, research institutes and practitioners are involved in the collaboration. You can download a PDF of the poster by clicking here: SPARC 2019_Poster 

Following the break, the I-PARC members attended workshops looking at 1) communicating physical activity messages to the public, and 2) using marketing to communicate your message. Both workshops were led by facilitators that built on past experiences and offered practical ideas to use in your own work. A key take-away from these workshops was that there is still more work that needs to be done around translating physical activity messages into a more public-friendly format with more accessible language. Even the new CMO UK PA guidelines infographics, which attempt to do this, have some way to go.

Next up was the oral presentations from various stakeholders around Scotland. These presentations revolved around the collection of physical activity data and the effective communication of this to relevant stakeholders. A powerful video shown by Dr. Paul McCrorie (University of Glasgow) told us that we should let children speak for themselves when it comes to physical activity engagement. Check out the video by clicking here.

IMG_2530.jpgAfter the Orals, Dr Charlie Foster (University of Bristol) gave the delegates an update on the CMO Updated Physical Activity Guidelines. Key changes to the guidelines were presented, including more emphasis on strength activities. You can check out these updated guidelines by clicking here.

The day came to a close with Caspian Richards (Active Scotland Division) emphasising the importance of effective partnerships including events such as SPARC for promoting population levels of physical activity.

The members of I-PARC would like to thank the SPARC team for hosting such a motivational, educational and enjoyable event. The event is something we would like to develop and run in Ireland in the future.

If you would like to find out more about SPARC please visit the SPARC Website or follow @ScotPARC on Twitter!












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