Professional cricket offers a distinctly different type of matchday experience than other spectator sports such as football and both codes of rugby, with the much longer playing format creating a much more relaxed atmosphere inside venues and providing very different opportunities for health promotion activities.
Since 2010, the Boundaries for Life (BFL) team has been undertaking free health checks at cricket fixtures in the UK, leveraging the power of the sport to access cricket fans, particularly those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, that would not typically access primary healthcare.
Modeled on the NHS Health Check Service, the B4L Health Check consists of: measuring height and weight to calculate BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood glucose, blood cholesterol, a brief oral examination to check on teeth and gums and a final consultation with a medical professional on your lifestyle.
All of this data is then used to calculate your heart age. Typically, if your heart age is around the same age as your biological age you are fit and healthy. However, due to lifestyle risk factors, many people’s heart age can be higher than their real age.
The BFL Health Check service is delivered by a team of clinicians including doctors, dentists, nurses and university students. The service, which is available to all fans and stadium staff over the age of 30, is provided free of charge and is currently supported by Simply Health.
Checks ordinarily take place either in a designated room within one of the stands’s at the cricket stadia or in a large gazebo-style tent erected near to commercial concession including food, drink, sponsor and merchandise stalls. The service is promoted online, through big screen messaging during fixtures and occasionally via broadcast radio.
Boundaries For Life has run health screening events at high profile cricket matches, including the 2019 Ashes series, and has firmly established itself as a matchday CSR offer that has become highly valued by host clubs and stadia.
Since its inception over 4,000 health checks have been completed with 99% of users backing the initiative. The majority of service users cite the convenience of the location and time as one of the main drivers for participation with many returning year after year to stay informed about their health and wellbeing.
For more information about the Boundaries for Life initiative please download the academic evaluation of the opportunistic health check programme at cricket matches here.