Interview with Arwel Jones

Dr Arwel Jones won the ERS/ELF grant for the best abstract in a Healthy Lungs for Life topic, for his abstract: Impact of the British Lung Foundation Active Steps service on patient reported outcomes

Tell us a bit about the Active Steps service and why it is important to encourage people with lung conditions to be active

The Active Steps service was launched by the British Lung Foundation in January 2019 to support inactive adults living with a lung condition to become and stay physically active over a 12-month period. All service users received 1:1 telephone health coaching, regular email newsletters, and an information pack including the Keep Active booklet, Active Steps plan, Stay Active, Stay Well activity DVD, and a letter to give to their GP.

We know that increasing physical activity has many benefits for people with chronic lung conditions, including improvements in symptoms, fitness and quality of life. In contrast, being physically inactive is linked to worsening health, including higher risk of hospitalisation and death.

Is the Active Steps service something that people with lung conditions can access now?

Unfortunately, it is not available right now. The funding for the service came to an end in 2020.

Do you have any recommendations coming out of the study that can help people become more active?

Our results tell us people with lung conditions were more likely to be physically active over a 12-month period if they improved their belief in achieving set goals or were making more plans to be active. So, those would be two key areas for me. These were based on results from questionnaires, but we also interviewed those who received support from the service to better understand how Active Steps helped them. These interviews also highlighted the importance of social support in becoming and staying physically active. Specifically, service users reported that the encouragement during regular, or as-needed, telephone calls with the Active Steps team kept them thinking about physical activity and how they were going to achieve their goals.

Why are initiatives such as Healthy Lungs for Life important for lung health?

Lung conditions don’t receive the attention they deserve. A key way to change is through public campaigns like Healthy Lungs for Life. This campaign is doing exactly what is needed, raising awareness of the prevention and management of lung conditions. Important messages such as #TakeTheActiveOption are reaching people across the world. Staying physically active has so many benefits to us all, no matter if you have a lung condition or not.