Press release

PHE and Disney UK launch Change4Life Train Like A Jedi programme

Public Health England (PHE) and Disney UK are marking the launch of a brand new national physical activity programme for children.

Train Like a Jedi campaign logo

The new Change4Life Train Like a Jedi programme uses the excitement of Star WarsTM and its characters – alongside Double Olympic Gold medallist Jade Jones – to encourage children to Train Like A Jedi and is designed to increase levels of physical activity amongst children in England.

It is recommended that children do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, yet just 23% of boys and 20% of girls aged 5 to 15 years currently meet this recommendation.

This year marks the fifth year PHE and Disney have worked together to inspire children to move more, with an estimated 300 million minutes of activity inspired to date.

A new survey from PHE and Disney found that over 4 in 5 children (82%) would be inspired to move more if they saw their favourite characters being active. With Star Wars characters ranking as key favourites amongst UK children aged 7 to 11, the programme aims to make physical activity fun and inspire children to move more.

In addition, the survey from PHE and Disney looking at the factors that influence children to be more active found:

  • 59% of children say they would be more active if exercise felt fun
  • children (58%) and parents (55%) ranked friends as the most influential figure in encouraging children to be more physically active
  • 99% of children say they enjoy doing physical activity or sports with their parent or carer

Building a new generation of ‘Resistance’ recruits, British taekwondo athlete and double Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones, alongside a special appearance from BB-8, leads children through a series of Jedi-inspired moves in an exciting new play-along video.

Taking inspiration from the traits of iconic Jedi such as Luke Skywalker and Rey, Train like A Jedi helps children learn and master 6 key skills – technique, strength, stamina, speed, agility and mastery. The sequence of moves has been specially designed to increase children’s heart rates and benefit health.

The video is designed for children to play along anywhere – either in groups, with their friends, family, or by themselves – and will help children meet the daily recommended physical activity guidelines they need for healthy development and to maintain a healthy weight. The Train Like A Jedi activity can be done in 10-minute bursts throughout the day.

In addition to the video, the campaign will include regional events, advertising, social media activity and a free Star Wars themed pack with mini active challenges for the summer holidays. Packs will be made available through primary schools before the summer holidays.

Eustace de Sousa, National Lead for Children at Public Health England said:

Children’s physical activity levels are alarmingly low and are having a major impact on their physical and mental health – both now and into adulthood.

Getting into the habit of being regularly active will have lifelong benefits. Our Change4Life Train Like A Jedi programme is a great way for children, their friends and the whole family to get moving throughout the summer.

Double Olympic gold medallist Jade Jones comments:

Inspiring kids to get active is something I’m really passionate about, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to help kids across the country with Change4Life and Star Wars.

It was great fun to create the Jedi-inspired moves which can be done anytime and anywhere – both at school and home. I hope that through this new programme we can inspire a new generation to move more by showing kids that physical activity can be really fun.

Mark Hamill, the actor best known for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker, offered his support to children taking part with some video messages, saying:

If you want to become a Jedi like Luke Skywalker or Rey, then you need to be fit, healthy and strong.

This summer, Change4Life can help you Train Like A Jedi. May the Force be with you.

Marianthi O’Dwyer, Vice President, Healthy Living, The Walt Disney Company UK, comments:

Using Star Wars characters and storytelling, we can help encourage children to be active by making it fun. With the huge popularity of Star Wars amongst UK kids aged 7 to 11, we believe this campaign will encourage children to get out and move like Jedi!

This is another great example of Disney’s healthy living commitment in action, where we use Disney’s characters and stories to encourage families and children to be more active together.

Last year, PHE and Disney helped more than 2 million children aged 3 to 11 get active with the 10 Minute Shake Up programme. This year, the Change4Life Train Like A Jedi programme will build on this success with all-new ways of getting children’s hearts pumping.

In the same way that mentorship plays a pivotal role for Jedi, schools have a major influence on children’s physical activity levels. Change4Life will provide schools with curriculum-linked teacher resources, including a Train Like A Jedi training video, to encourage their pupils to learn the Jedi-inspired moves and be active both in and outside the classroom.

The Change4Life Train Like A Jedi programme is also supported by Sport England.

Public Health England press office

Background

The Opinium survey for Public Health England and Disney questioned 1,263 parents of children aged 5 to 11 in England and 783 children aged 5 to 11 in England about their attitudes to physical activity and took place in April 2018.

About Change4Life

Change4Life is PHE’s flagship social marketing programme which aims to help families to eat well and move more. PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.

About Disney’s Healthy Living Commitment

In 2006, The Walt Disney Company made a global commitment to support parents and create healthier families by using its stories and characters to make healthy living simple and fun. Since 2006, Disney has been offering different ways to support families to live more healthily. This includes introducing robust nutritional guidelines for food and drinks as well as their advertising, offering content that positively focuses on healthier lifestyles such as Disney Channel’s First Class Chefs, The Lodge and Aim High, and inspiring activity and healthier eating through programmes such as Change4Life ‘10 Minute Shake Up’, PHE, Disney and Swim England ‘Just Keep Swimming’ Finding Dory programme, the partnership with the Football Association and Girls’ Football Week, and Disney’s #HealthilyEverAfter marketing campaign.

About The Walt Disney Company UK & Ireland

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $55.1 billion in its last fiscal year (FY17).

The Walt Disney Company has operated in the UK and Ireland for over 80 years, employing more than 3,300 people, and is dedicated to creating innovative, entertainment experiences for children and families. The Disney brand is experienced in a number of ways across the UK and Ireland including in cinemas, on stage, via its streaming app DisneyLife, on TV screens with Disney-branded channels and through a wide range of consumer products that are sold at mass market retailers and in Disney Stores. Now in its fifth year, Disney’s partnership with Public Health England and the ’10 Minute Shake Up’ campaign has seen over 2 million kids get active with an estimated 300 million extra minutes of physical activity being completed.

About Sport England

Sport England is a public body and invests more than £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active - like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.

Published 27 June 2018