A new survey from Change4Life and Disney UK has found that less than half of parents in the West Midlands are aware that physical activity can build children’s self-confidence 55%, reduce anxiety 43% and improve their self-esteem 50%. Just 12% think that physical activity can help children develop attributes which make it easier to cope with life’s little set-backs.
Evidence shows that children and young people who are more active have more confidence, higher self-esteem, less anxiety and stress and better social skills – attributes that can help them deal with the challenges they face in daily life. Positive attitudes towards physical activity have also been associated with children being happier.
The UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that children do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, yet just 20% of boys and even fewer girls (14%),[iii] are meeting this target, despite 99% of children in the West Midlands saying that they enjoy being active.
To help the kids in the West Midlands get more active this summer, the Change4Life campaign is encouraging children to play 10 Minute Shake Up games inspired by favourite characters from Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2; and Disney’s Frozen and The Lion King. Three in four children surveyed in the West Midlands said they would be inspired to be more physically active if they saw their favourite characters being active. Over four in five parents think that kids are likely to enjoy sports and physical activities if they’re fun and 69% of children agree that this helps.
Change4Life has also launched a new online quiz to help children, with their parents, find activities and sports that might be perfect for them to try, based on their skills and abilities.
According to the survey, less than half of children in the West Midlands think that they need to be ‘fast’ 49% or ‘strong’ 34% to be physically active and only 21% see themselves as ‘sporty’. The campaign reinforces that simple daily activities like active play, scooting or walking count, so by encouraging them, parents can help their children become more active.
David Elliott, Health and Wellbeing Programme Manager, PHE West MIdlands says: “Levels of childhood obesity are unacceptably high in the West Midlands with just over 37% of year 6 pupils overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Physical activity is not only beneficial to losing weight but improves self-confidence and mental health.
“Breaking up the 60 minutes of physical activity that children need each day into 10 minute bursts with their favourite characters is more appealing and manageable for children and parents alike.”
The 10 Minute Shake Up campaign is being supported by musician Danny Jones who feels passionately about encouraging kids to try new activities and have fun, and who has personal experience of how physical activity can help develop the skills you need to face life’s challenges.
McFly musician and dad of one, Danny Jones, says: “I’m really surprised to see how few kids are getting active. When I was a kid, I loved being outside and being active, whether it was playing football or going on bike rides with my family. I didn’t realise at the time but being active was really important for more than just my physical health; it helped me to make friends and feel part of a group. As I got older, I began to realise that it also helped me to cope with anxiety and now it’s a huge part of my routine.
“Being physically active gives me energy, helps me focus and puts me in a good mood. I’m supporting this Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up campaign to help kids have fun getting active so they can develop skills that will help them throughout their life.”
Marianthi O’Dwyer, Vice President and Head of Disney Healthy Living UK says: “Disney is committed to supporting the future generation to lead healthier lifestyles and we are in a unique position to inspire families and children to be more active through our characters and the stories they tell. It’s as simple as designing 10 Minute Shake Up games based on fresh or much-loved Disney content to tap into children’s imaginations and get them moving more. We are excited to work with Change4Life for our sixth year on the 10 Minute Shake Up programme and to use the power of our characters as a force for good.”
This year marks the sixth year that PHE and Disney have worked together to inspire children to move more, with almost two million children taking part in last year’s campaign. 10 Minute Shake Uppacks will be distributed to schools during the summer term for children to take home so that they can continue to keep active over the summer.
Sport England will also help families try new sports and physical activities locally, whether at their local park, leisure centre or through a well-known sport.
To keep the kids busy this summer with 10 Minute Shake Up games from Change4Life with Disney, search ‘Change4Life’.