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William has helped transform the health of millions of people across the UK through innovative initiatives he has developed. As a family GP, he began to get his patients more active by setting up the first Health Walk scheme in April 1996. This led to him creating the Green Gym one year later as he realised that companionship and contact with nature were major driving forces in keeping people active.
As CEO and Founder of Intelligent Health, William developed the hugely successful Beat the Street programme which has encouraged more than 500,000 people across the world to get moving and improve their health. William’s leadership has grown the company from just three employees to an innovative industry leader in promoting physical activity.
Ever since he was a child, William has been fascinated by the connection between humans and their environment, so it was inevitable he would set up a company whose aim to improve health through community interventions. Dr William Bird said: “Our bodies are meant to be active and we’re designed to be connected to nature. We’re hunter-gatherers and our bodies currently exist in an alien environment of being indoors all the time and living under artificial lights and so on. Owing to this, our bodies respond with chronic inflammation which leads to cancer and long-term illness.
“The technology behind our programmes is an enabler to make the game simple and accessible to a whole population. The real aim of the game is to get people moving and connect them to their place.”
William has worked as a GP since 1991 and has been awarded ‘Innovation Doctor of the Year’ in 1996 and ‘Innovation Team of the Year in 1997’. In 2015, he was voted as one of the top 30 most influential conservationists in the UK by BBC Wildlife Magazine, named by The Independent as one of the top 100 people making Britain a happier place, and in 2010 was appointed MBE for services for health and physical activity.
He has worked for the World Health Organisation to develop a physical activity strategy for the Middle East which is now being implemented in many of the countries there and also worked on an innovative project for the Met Office, developing Health Forecasting that has resulted in heat health forecasts, cold weather forecasts and forecasting workload for the NHS.
As a result of his substantive knowledge and experience in nature, health and physical activity, William is also heavily in demand as a speaker: delivering addresses to many conferences and organisations including Yale University, American Medical Association, British Medical Association, Local Government Association and The Wildlife Trust.
He adds: “I like to think way beyond the current constraints of normal healthcare; developing innovative projects that will have a lasting and meaningful change for the health and wellbeing of entire communities.”