A campaign has been launched to encourage children to do 10 minute bursts of exercise throughout the day as a new study highlights the health benefits of being active.

The Change4Life 10-minute shake up campaign aims to inspire children to do 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, inspired by their favourite Disney cartoon characters, over the course of each day, in order to meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity children need.

This year’s campaign was launched to coincide with the publication of an evidence review by British Heart Foundation (BHF) researchers from the University of Oxford and Loughborough University, which identifies the direct benefits that physical activity has on children in terms of their physical, social and emotional development.

In addition to keeping their weight down, young people who maintain an active lifestyle, with a healthy diet, can avoid developing health conditions including type 2 diabetes and obesity.


Ricky Wilson, lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs, (left) supports the Change4Life campaign

The study highlighted that there is strong evidence that physical activity and sport can have a positive impact on children’s social skills and self-esteem.

The evidence review also identified further social benefits for children as a result of physical activity, including increased confidence and peer acceptance, alongside a link to friendship.

Review author Professor Charlie Foster said: “The positives of exercise on children’s mental wellbeing are less well known than the physical benefits. The evidence showed a strong link between physically active children and improved self-esteem, confidence, attention span and even academic achievements.

“Over a third of children in the UK are overweight, yet 79% of parents with an overweight child do not recognise that they are, and of those that do, 41% do not realise that it is a health risk. Furthermore, parents tend to overestimate how active their children are. Change4Life with Disney aims to inspire children to get active using Disney characters and stories as encouragement.”

This is the second year that Change4Life has teamed up with Disney. Last year’s campaign resulted in the children across the UK being active for an extra 104 million minutes of the summer.

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England (PHE), said: “Levels of childhood obesity are unacceptably high – currently one in five primary school children is overweight or obese. This latest review reinforces the essential health and wellbeing benefits of being physically active. Breaking up the 60 minutes of physical activity that children need each day into 10 minute bursts will be more appealing and manageable for children and parents alike.”

Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, added: “Exercise is really important for children, and it’s vital that we encourage them to form healthy habits to last throughout their life.”


Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs

Ricky Wilson, lead singer of Kaiser Chiefs and TV personality, who helped launch the campaign, said: “Since taking up a much more active lifestyle, the benefits that I’ve gained have been endless, it has helped with everything from singing to performing and even just getting out of bed or going to the shops. I’m supporting this summer’s Change4Life campaign, and have helped create my own 10 minute shake up game to help demonstrate the joys of being active and to ask parents to encourage their children to enjoy the many health and social advantages that come with doing the right amount of physical activity. I’m excited to see how it goes and just hope I can keep up with the kids.”

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