Help to keep youngsters active during the school holidays

Published: Monday, 7th August 2017

Young people are being encouraged to stay active during the summer as part of a city-wide campaign to promote healthy living.

The campaign is based on an initiative between Change4Life and Disney, which have come together to inspire children across England to pack in extra 10-minute bursts of activity or ‘shake-ups’ during the school holidays.

It has been relaunched after statistics show that nationally just 23 per cent of boys and 20 per cent of girls currently meet the daily recommended level of activity of 60 minutes.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s healthy weight strategy 2016-19 highlights the need to make a healthy weight the norm across all ages in the city, starting with children. This is to be achieved through promoting breastfeeding, encouraging physical activity and securing healthier eating habits.

Alongside the shake-up campaign, the council funds free courses aimed at families to promote learning around healthy eating habits and to encourage an increase in their activity levels. These include Cook and Eat and Active Families.

Jeanette Sheppard has recently completed a 10-week Active Families course at Smallthorne Primary School with her 10-year-old son Sammie.

The 42-year-old, who has six other children, attended the programme alongside Cook and Eat classes, and said they had changed her family’s lives.

She said: “It has made a massive difference to us and has totally changed the way we do things. It’s all about education – learning what’s in food and the effect things like fat and sugar have on our bodies.

“I cook everything from scratch now – we have no processed food in the house – and we are a lot more active as a family.

“We also exercise every day now and we enjoy it. We go for walks as a family instead of just sitting in the garden.

“Children are far less active than they should be. They have a lot of energy that they need to burn off instead of staying sedentary. And campaigns like Change4Life are a brilliant way to teach people how they can live their lives better, and have fun in the process.”

To take part in the Change4Life shake-up campaign, visit

New shake-ups will be released each week over the summer holidays with games featuring characters from Disney Pixar’s latest animation Cars 3, as well as Disney’s Moana, Frozen Fever, Zootropolis, Beauty and the Beast and The Lodge.

New for this year, the activities will focus on core skills such as running, jumping, throwing, catching and balance and can be completed throughout the day.

Councillor Ann James, the city council’s cabinet member for health and social care, said: “The right balance to maintain a healthy lifestyle is different for everyone and small steps can make a big difference. Being active helps children to build social skills, boost self-confidence and mental wellbeing, and improve bone and heart health.

“Every 10-minute burst of exercise can make a real difference in helping children reach the 60 minutes they need each day to stay healthy.

“The 10 Minute Shake Ups with Disney is a great campaign to get children enjoying being active, and to inspire longer term activity – promoting healthy habits all year round.

“We have a number of initiatives in place in Stoke-on-Trent through which we try to educate people about the need to eat healthily, and support them in any changes they need to make. The Active Families and Cook and Eat programmes are just two excellent examples of how we are providing support and advice to local families to make healthier lifestyle choices, and it’s fantastic to see how beneficial they have been to Jeanette and her son Sammie.”

For more information or to book a place on the Cook and Eat or Active Families courses go to or

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