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Children across Cambridgeshire are being inspired to master the skills of a Jedi this summer in a new campaign to get active.

Cambridgeshire County Council is supporting Public Health England’s (PHE) new national Change4Life campaign with Disney UK which uses the excitement of Star WarsTM and its characters to encourage children to Train Like A Jedi.

The campaign, which runs throughout the summer holidays and is also supported by Sport England, 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 26 per cent of boys and 17 per cent of girls aged 5 to 15 years in the East of England currently meet this.

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

Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “This new campaign is great way to show children that physical activity can be fun. Exercise helps children achieve and maintain a healthy body weight and helps build and maintain strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints. This campaign will inspire children to be active throughout the summer holidays as well as promote healthy habits all year round.”

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.  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.  

While children and their families are getting a helping hand this summer to get active, special classes and group sessions are also available across the county for residents too.

Everyone Health, the lifestyle service commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council, offers group sessions led by qualified dietitians, nutritionist, physical activity specialists, and psychologists in a variety of community locations who work together to help tackle residents’ weight.

Karen Burton, from March, recently attended a group session at March community centre and has now lost nearly 2 stone after becoming more physically active by following the same group exercises at home and going for regular walks with her dogs.  

”I can now get in clothes I’ve not worn for 10 years, have more energy and feel wonderful,” she said.  

Meanwhile, Peterborough resident Elizabeth, 64, is reaping the rewards of Shape Up 4 Life, a class run by the Solutions4Health lifestyle service to help residents lose weight. Being a ‘yo-yo’ dieter for most of her life, Elizabeth has been on diet pills and even had a gastric band in 2007 which gave her ulcers in an effort to lose weight. 

“My doctors got me in touch with Solutions4Health.  I am so glad and so pleased about this course,” she said. “They were very competent and taught us without bias or judgement.  It has given me the kick that I needed.  Exercise is getting better and even with my disabilities I am ‘shuffling’ on my running machine 20 minutes a day. The course is teaching me to respect myself more and I am enjoying it.” 

A new survey from PHE and Disney found that 75 per cent of children in the East of England would be inspired to move more if they saw their favourite characters being active.

The survey which looked at the factors that influence children to be more active, also found in the East of England:

  • 53 per cent of children in the region say they would be more active if exercise felt fun;
  • 78 per cent of children and 56 per cent of parents ranked friends as the most influential figure in encouraging children to be more physically active; and
  • 100 per cent of children say they enjoy doing physical activity or sports with their parent or carer.

To access the Train Like A Jedi video, visit https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/activities/train-like-a-jedi

For more information on Shape Up 4 Life visit http://www.healthypeterborough.org.uk or Everyone Health visit www.everyonehealth.co.uk.

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