health and safetyA workplace health programme for NHS workers, which encouraged NHS Wales staff to commit to two healthy lifestyle challenges, has succeeded in making some staff fitter and healthier.

The NHS Champions for Health scheme was tested by 1,300 Welsh staff, and the campaign encouraged staff to commit to healthy lifestyle changes.

Some of the changes on offer included:

  • drinking safely
  • taking regular exercise
  • eating healthily
  • stopping smoking
  • working towards a healthier weight.


Under the scheme, each employee set their own challenges and reported on their progress at regular intervals during the six-month period.

The campaign finished on Sunday 31 March; with initial findings showing that improvements were made. The results show that 332 staff achieved a combined 3,600 weeks of exercising 150 minutes or more, while 52 employees achieved their goal healthy weight with a further 250 making progress towards a healthy Body Mass Index.

It also revealed that approximately 120 people signed up to eat healthily and that between those 120 people, 58,000 portions of fruit and vegetables were consumed throughout the trial period.

The scheme allowed for staff to share experiences and offer support through online forums, social media and a website dedicated to the scheme. Participants in the scheme also received weekly motivational e-mails and text messages offering fitness and health tips.

Dr Ruth Hussey, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, praised the “fresh and innovative” campaign and said it was “fantastic that so many NHS staff from across Wales have crossed the Champions for Health finishing line”.

But she added:

“The campaign also underlines however, the challenge we face in Wales to engage people in health improvement.

“I am looking forward to seeing how we can develop Champions for Health further to help ensure we have a healthier and sustainable nation.”

It has been revealed that the programme will now undergo a full evaluation to see what worked well and what lessons can be learnt before being developed further.