Press release

Change4Life and Sportacus tackle our lazy towns

Change4Life is teaming up with super hero Sportacus to inspire children around the country to ditch their junk food and tuck into more ‘Sports Candy'.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Change4Life is teaming up with super hero Sportacus to inspire children around the country to ditch their junk food and tuck into more ‘Sports Candy’, Public Health Minister Anne Milton announced today.

The popular children’s show LazyTown has partnered with Change4Life to encourage young children between the ages of two and five to be more active, eat healthier food and leave their own LazyTown ways behind.

Eating well and being active can help prevent children developing serious illnesses later in life and new physical activity guidelines show that once a child can walk they should be physically active for at least 180 minutes a day. 

To launch the partnership, 3,600 Sure Start Children’s Centres will receive new Change4Life activity packs featuring all the LazyTown stars next week.  The packs will contain fun ideas for group activities and parents at home, such as healthy recipe ideas and a sticker wall chart.  This will help children track their progress as they become as active and healthy as Sportacus.

New research out today has revealed that Sportacus is the healthiest children’s character on UK television.  Although other characters are also very active, such as Tom and Jerry and Scooby Doo, it was Sportacus who took the top spot and sets the best example for children.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said:

“Eating well and being active is crucial, especially at an early age.

“Sportacus is a great role model for children and exactly what we need to get young children and their parents being healthy and being active.”

Creator and star of LazyTown, Magnus Scheving said:

“I’m delighted to be working with Change4Life in targeting children aged two to five years old.  I believe that the blueprint for becoming a healthy, fit adult is set at this age and it is the reason why campaigns like this are so important.

“It’s encouraging to see the government reaching out to the under fives where they can make such a positive difference.”

Former Olympic Champion Sally Gunnell said:

“As a mum, I know the importance of engaging young children in a fun and creative way.

“I have seen the positive influence athletics can have on children as they grow up so this is a great way of targeting them early on and get more children interested in sport.”

Notes to Editors

1. Fruit and vegetables are known as ‘Sports Candy’ in Lazy Town.

2. The Change4Life and LazyTown materials will also be available online for Change4Life supporters and partners to download from the Change4Life website.

3. PCP Research Consultants analysed the top 20 children’s programmes and characters shown on UK TV channels in November and December 2010.  Each character was rated on their activity levels and received marks for good behaviours such as walking short journeys and playing sport. 

4. Programmes were ranked as follows (most active programme at the top):
- Scooby Doo
- Shaun the Sheep
- Lazy Town
- Peppa Pig
- Bob The Builder
- Tom and Jerry
- Dora the Explorer
- Looney Tunes
- SpongeBob Squarepants
- In the Night Garden
- Ben 10
- The Simpsons
- Phineas and Ferb
- The Sarah Jane Adventures
- Tracey Beaker
- Postman Pat
- iCarly
- Horrid Henry
- Garfield
- Charlie and Lola.

5. Individual characters were ranked as follows (healthiest character at the top)
- Sportacus, Lazy Town
- Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo
- Daphne Blake, Scooby Doo
- Shaggy, Scooby Doo
- Freddie Jones, Scooby Doo
- Stephanie, Scooby Doo,
- Jerry, Tom and Jerry
- Peppa Pig, Peppa Pig
- Tom, Tom and Jerry
- Velma Dinkley, Scooby Doo
- George Pig, Peppa Pig
- Shaun , Shaun the Sheep
- SpongeBob, SpongeBob Squarepants
- Boots the Monkey, Dora the Explorer
- Ziggy, Lazy Town
- Igglepiggle, In the Night Garden
- Dora Marquez, Dora the Explorer
- Wile E Coyote, Looney Tunes
- Patrick Star, SpongeBob Squarepants
- Scoop, Bob the Builder

6. For further information on the research please contact Jo Evans - jo, 020 3003 6399 / 07958 461 540 or Vicky Moorphew - 020 3003 6337.

7. For all other media enquires please contact the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5221.

Published 13 September 2011