Public Health England - One You.

Changing the UK’s perception towards health and fitness.

Creating a healthier nation by focussing on One You.

In 2016 Public Health England launched their One You campaign to improve the nation’s health. Specifically, they decided to build a suite of digital services to drive behaviour and lifestyle change among 40-60 year-olds. They asked Engine Transformation to help them with the design and build of this toolset.

With the rise in lifestyle related health concerns, any improvements to peoples’ health behaviour would benefit the NHS. The technological aspect of building the app was relatively trivial. However, the behaviour change part was challenging.

Asking ‘How Are You?’

We undertook a wide-ranging research and design programme. By using behavioural science and analysing existing healthcare data, we could understand pain points in the journey towards changing behaviours – using this to design the digital tools for enabling awareness, understanding and action.

Now we had the required technology and service design, we needed to add the final elements: the digital brand, the brand guidelines and strategic assets to enable local delivery partners to maximise the campaign.

As with health, One You covered a range of behaviours – therefore, the tools varied in shape and design. They included “How Are You?”, to understand the impact of choices on overall health; NHS SmokeFree for assistance in quitting smoking; Sugar Smart to develop a better awareness of sugar content in food; and the world-famous Couch to 5k app.

A visual representation of the stats achieved by Couch to 5k in the first months and over the past 18 months.

An ongoing success story

Couch to 5k was originally a concept invented in the US, many programmes support it, but the Public Health England one remains the most widely used. It is an innovative approach to build beginners into confident runners through a nine-week programme. Runners can also select from a range of celebrity voices, provided by the BBC.

Public Health England witnessed 1.2 million website visitors within the first month, with over 950,000 using the ‘How Are You?” tool and 77% completing the health quiz. There were over 5 million users across the different services – the first-month post-launch saw 114,000 users across the four apps, and the NHS even backed the scheme – but the success has not stopped there.

Over a year since the pandemic began, Public Health England has shared that Couch to 5k has passed 2.36 million users over the 18 months. The ongoing success of One You has led it to become an internationally drawn upon model.

The response to One You has been fantastic and we have been delighted to see such a positive reaction in the media, from our partners and from the public.

Kevin Fenton, Director of Health & Wellbeing, Public Health England

Users of Couch to 5k


Website visitors in the first month


Users of the 'How Are You?' tool


Completion rate of the health quiz