New study shows that physically active children are happier and more confident


  • Change4Life and Disney announce the launch of this year’s 10 Minute Shake Up campaign with schools across the country being invited to join the largest ever interactive PE lesson
  • Benefits on children’s  physical and mental health as a result of exercise revealed in new evidence review
  • Just 21% of boys and 16% of girls currently meet their recommended 60 minutes of activity each day
  • To sign up for the Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up campaign or to view this year’s games and content click here 

Thursday 2 July marked the launch of this year’s Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up campaign with Disney. The campaign aims to encourage children to do 10 minute bursts of moderate to vigorous activity, inspired by Disney characters, throughout the day - and every day - in order to meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity children need.

This year’s campaign launches to coincide with the publication of an evidence review by British Heart Foundation researchers from the University of Oxford and Loughborough University, which identifies the direct benefits that physical activity has on children in terms of their physical, social and emotional development.[i]

The new review points to strong evidence that physical activity and sport has a positive impact on children’s social skills and self-esteem. The evidence review also identified further social benefits for children as a result of physical activity including increased confidence and peer acceptance, alongside a link to friendship.

Over a third of children in the UK are overweight, yet 79% of parents with an overweight child do not recognise that they are, and of those that do, 41% do not realise that it is a health risk.[ii] Furthermore, parents tend to overestimate how active their children are.[iii] Change4Life with Disney aims to inspire children to get active using Disney characters and stories as encouragement.

New for this year’s campaign, the Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up game allows kids to join one of four Disney teams: Frozen, Toy Story, Monsters and Big Hero 6 and help their team win by doing as many Shake Ups as they can every day.

To mark the campaign launch, Change4Life and Disney hosted England’s largest ever interactive PE lesson featuring Kaiser Chiefs frontman and ‘The Voice’ TV judge, Ricky Wilson, who is also a keen runner and fitness enthusiast.

This is the second year that Change4Life has teamed up with Disney, with last year’s campaign resulting in the nations kids being active for an extra 104 million minutes of last summer.[iv]

Review author Professor Charlie Foster comments:

“The positives of exercise on children’s mental wellbeing are less well known than the physical benefits. The evidence showed a strong link between physically active children and improved self-esteem, confidence, attention span and even academic achievements.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, National Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, comments

“Levels of childhood obesity are unacceptably high – currently one in five primary school children is overweight or obese. This latest review reinforces the essential health and wellbeing benefits of being physically active. Breaking up the 60 minutes of physical activity that children need each day into 10 minute bursts will be more appealing and manageable for children and parents alike.”

Public Health Minister, Jane Ellison, said:

“Exercise is really important for children, and it’s vital that we encourage them to form healthy habits to last throughout their life. The 10 Minute Shake Up programme is great for introducing children to manageable, bite-size chunks of activity – and, best of all, it’s fun. With the summer holidays coming up, it’s ideal for parents and children to get active together.”

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

“Following on from the success of last year’s campaign, we’re excited to be partnering with Change4Life for a brand new 10 Minute Shake Up. This year children will have the chance to join one of four Disney-themed teams, which we hope will inspire them to get even more active this summer.

Disney’s stories are experienced and enjoyed by children around the world, so we believe we can have a positive influence. Our partnership with Change4Life is part of Disney’s commitment to use our stories and characters to inspire and encourage life-long healthy behaviours in families.”


[i] Anna Chalkley, Karen Milton and Charlie Foster (2015) Change4Life evidence review

[ii] Park MH, Falconer CL, Saxena S, et al. (2013) Perceptions of health risk among parents of overweight Kids: a cross-sectional study within a cohort. Prev Med 57(1): 55–59.

[iii] Centre for Diet and Activity Research (IDH0069) para 3.1

[iv] TNS BMRB Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up evaluation, October 2014

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