Date Published: 2 February 2010

FSA takes small steps to encourage young people to eat well, get active and feel good

Health Food - illustrating an item from the UK Food Standards Agency.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) today officially launched SmallSteps4Life ? an innovative approach to motivating young people to take simple steps towards improving their health and well-being, both inside and outside the classroom.

The programme also supports the Change4Life movement, and is part of Get Set ? the London 2012 education programme that will help deliver the lasting legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

SmallSteps4Life invites young people to set themselves challenges relating to the themes of eating well, getting active and feeling good, over a period of at least four weeks. Examples include: eat a healthy breakfast every day, walk to and from school, and get more sleep.

SmallSteps4Life is the result of an FSA research project, piloted by the National Children's Bureau in six schools in Kent during 2008. Four months after the end of the pilot, over 70% of primary school students and 65% of secondary school students who completed questionnaires reported that they were still going with their health challenges.

Gill Fine, Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health at the FSA, said:

" SmallSteps4Life is a unique project because it addresses healthy eating, exercise and emotional health. We know from the pilot in Kent that the approach can really make a difference to young people. The results showed it made them feel fitter, healthier, and more positive ? and most importantly, they had fun! "

London 2012 Sustainability Ambassador and Olympian, James Cracknell, is helping to ensure the sustainable nature of the 2012 Games, and helped to launch SmallSteps4Life. James said:

" SmallSteps4Life is a novel and exciting initiative that supports London 2012's sustainability and Get Set education programme goals to encourage healthy and active lifestyles.

I am proud to help launch this unique project that addresses well-being in a way that is fun and meaningful for young people. My SmallSteps4Life challenge is to eat breakfast every day and keep positive so I always have the energy to do my best. I look forward to seeing the kind of creative challenge ideas that young minds come up with as they are shared on the SmallSteps4Life website."

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said:

" SmallSteps4Life builds on the success of the Government's Change4Life campaign, giving school children the chance to make the small changes to their daily routines that can add up to big health benefits.

We've seen some fantastic results in the SmallSteps4Life pilot schools ? now we want to see young people across the country getting involved."

From today the website has been fully updated, so that all primary and secondary schools have access to the complete interactive site. There is a variety of resources for young people on the site, such as areas where they can post their own challenge ideas, share their thoughts on how they are getting on, play games and take part in a quiz. There are also opportunities for teachers share their schools' successes and nominate individuals or groups who have done particularly well as SmallSteps4Life ?champions'.

The FSA is working with a range of partners across the UK on SmallSteps4Life, including youth charity The Prince's Trust, Fairbridge West, ContinYou and the National Organisation for Pupil Referral Units, to ensure SmallSteps4Life reaches vulnerable young people throughout the UK.

 

Source: Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK.

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