PHE and Disney UK inspire kids and schools to get moving with new Change4Life Train Like A Jedi programme
• Only 23% of boys and 20% of girls aged 5 – 15 meet national physical activity recommendations to do at least 60 minutes every day
• Double Olympic Gold Medallist Jade Jones backs campaign in a new play along video teaching a series of Jedi inspired moves
• 82% of children said seeing their favourite characters being active inspires them to move more
• Star Wars characters rank as a key favourite amongst UK children aged 7 – 11
Public Health England (PHE) and Disney UK are today, during National School Sport Week, marking the launch of the brand new national Change4Life Train Like A Jedi programme which will inspire children to get active.
The new 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 7-11, the programme aims to make physical activity fun and inspire children to move more.
In addition, the survey from PHE and Disney looked at the factors that influence children to be more active, and found that 59% of children said they would be more active if exercise felt fun.
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 six 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.
In the same way that mentorship plays a pivotal role for Jedi, schools have a major influence on children’s physical activity levels. Change4Life is providing schools with curriculum-linked teaching resources, including a Train Like A Jedi training video, to encourage their pupils to learn the Jedi inspired moves. Also provided is a whole-school assembly and activity ideas to get pupils moving, both in and out of class. The activities can be used during drop off or pick up times, or at a school sports day.
PE lesson plans are also available to help pupils step up their Jedi training and hone their skills. Schools can also get pupils moving outside of the classroom by adding a twist to their favourite playground games with a new set of Star Wars inspired playground challenges.
The Train Like A Jedi video and school activities are 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 school day or at home.
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 Barnsley, Deputy Head Teacher, Birmingham, said:
“This programme encourages perseverance and determination, motivating children who may be disinterested in sporting activities by making links to Star Wars. It offers the opportunity to promote fitness beyond the classroom by encouraging participation outside of lessons and during the school holidays.”
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 Jedis!
“This is another great example of Disney’s healthy living commitment in action, where we use Disney’s characters 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 addition to the play along video, a free Star Wars inspired pack with mini active challenges for the summer will be distributed to primary schools for pupils to take home. The packs contain Star Wars themed challenges that will encourage children to Train Like A Jedi throughout the summer and race across the galaxy. The packs also contain a Star Wars inspired wall chart, stickers and secret messages.
Search ‘Change4Life/schools’ online or visit the School Zone to access the new Train Like A Jedi resources for schools.
Change4Life would love to hear about how your school is taking part – email your pictures or stories at mailto:email@example.com
Schools can also sign up to the School Zone to find out about more Train Like A Jedi resources launching soon.
The Change4Life Train Like A Jedi programme is also supported by Sport England.