East Midlands parents unaware physical activity can help children develop skills to deal with life’s challenges

Published on: Thursday, 4th July 2019

A new survey from Change4Life and Disney UK has found that less than half of parents in the East Midlands are aware that physical activity can build children’s self-confidence 41%, reduce anxiety 38% and improve their self-esteem 35%.

Just 14% 1 in 6 people 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%), are meeting this target, despite 94% of children in the East Midlands saying that they enjoy being active.

Earlier this year, research from Sport England also found that enjoyment is the single biggest factor that motivates children to be active.  So to help the kids in the East 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 East Midlands said they would be inspired to be more physically active if they saw their favourite characters being active.  78% of parents think that kids are likely to enjoy sports and physical activities if they’re fun and 59% 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 East Midlands think that they need to be ‘fast’ 39% or ‘strong’ 37% to be physically active and only one in five 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.

Ann Crawford, Deputy Director - Health, Wellbeing and Workforce Development at PHE East Midland, said: “Levels of childhood obesity are unacceptably high in the East Midlands with up to 34% 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.”

Marianthi O’Dwyer, Vice President and Head of Disney Healthy Living UK, said: “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.”

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, said: “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.”  

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.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s CEO, said: “Our recent research gives us the richest evidence yet that sport and physical activity needs to be fun and enjoyable above all because enjoyment is the biggest motivator for children in getting active.

“The Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up games fit that brief to a tee with children’s favourite Disney characters encouraging them to move more. Sport England are delighted to be investing £1 million of National Lottery funding to support the Shake Up games in our mission to help children build a positive attitude to physical activity.”

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 Up packs 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.

To keep the kids busy this summer with 10 Minute Shake Up games from Change4Life with Disney, search ‘Change4Life’.

Shake Up Your Summer

Share this story:

Tell us YOUR news...

If there's something happening in your area that matters to you and feel that the rest of the borough needs to know about it?