Department of Health and Social Care
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New campaign to help adults lose their spare tyres

New campaign to help adults lose their spare tyres

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 16 February 2010

More than one million mums already making healthier choices with Change4Life

One million mums say their families are eating better and being more active, and people are making positive changes to their shopping habits, thanks to Change4Life. This new data comes as the Government’s healthy living movement celebrates its first year of activity today.

Change4Life is an innovative, interactive healthy living campaign. It helps families to achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle by promoting healthy habits that encourage them to eat well, move more and live longer.

The movement is already showing good progress in changing harmful behaviours which can lead to people becoming overweight or obese:

one million mums claim to have attempted to change their children’s behaviour as a result of Change4Life;latest data show that obesity prevalence in children is levelling out; an early analysis of people’s shopping baskets suggests that families who signed up to Change4Life are now more likely to chose low fat milks and low sugar drinks: andfor every pound spent on the campaign, three pounds are spent by partners such as Tesco and Asda to build momentum.

In its first year, the focus of the campaign was on young families. The spotlight will now fall on adults. This follows new evidence, published today by the National Heart Forum, which predicts a near 100 per cent rise in diabetes by 2050 unless people take action now.

The independent report states that rising adult obesity will see significant increases in diseases like diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke. Losing weight, improving your diet and increasing the amount of activity you do can, for example, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than 50 percent[i].

The next phase of Change4Life will bring a new wave of advertising to our television screens encouraging adults to ‘Swap it, Don’t stop it’ - make simple changes in their diet and lifestyle which will help them lead longer, healthier lives, and lose that unwanted spare tyre.

Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham said:

“In response to an urgent need to tackle the alarming rise in obesity, we launched Change4Life - not just a campaign, but a movement with a mission to encourage people to eat well, move more and live longer. We have surpassed all our targets for the first year and we are beginning to see the positive impact on families as they start to adopt healthier lifestyles.

“The beauty of the campaign is that it motivates everyone to get involved right down to local communities. For every pound we spend on the campaign, other organisations have committed to spend £3 to build momentum.This makes Change4Life a highly powerful movement.

“Unless we build on the achievements of this first year, we will still face an obesity crisis in years to come. Today we are launching Change4Life for adults. We are going even further to support people to make the simple changes that will lead to us living healthier, longer lives.”

The next phase of the campaign urges adults to ‘Swap it Don’t Stop it’ – giving people tips on how to lose weight and feel healthy without giving up all the things they love. There are a series of suggested ‘swaps’ – including swapping watching a favourite sport on television for taking part, increasing fibre intake by choosing brown rice over white, or simply swapping bigger plates for smaller ones to choose smaller portions of food.

The new range of television and poster adverts will air from Saturday 20 February.

One year after the movement started, an early analysis of people’s shopping baskets suggests that families who signed up to Change4Life are now more likely to choose low fat milks and low sugar drinks. The analysis compared purchases made at Tesco in September-November 2009 with the same time period in 2008.

The Change4Life movement has branched out across England with supporters at the grassroots, in the NHS, local government, commercial sector and non-government organisations. Change4Life activity is now in schools, GP surgeries, community centres and supermarkets. A range of sub-brands including Let’s Dance with Change4Life, Bike4Life and Walk4Life have supported people to get up and about, and the campaign has also been extended to pregnant mums and families with babies with Start4Life.

Communities have embraced Change4Life. In its first year:

· 44 per cent of randomly selected primary schools, hospitals, general practices, town and village halls, children’s centres, pharmacies, nurseries, libraries and leisure centres displayed Change4Life materials
· more than 25,000 local supporters used Change4Life materials to help them start conversations with over a million people about their lifestyles
· NHS staff ordered more than six million items of Change4Life material
· primary schools generated more than 50,000 sign-ups to Change4Life
· local authorities and primary care trusts worked together to create new activities including street parties and roadshows

In addition:

· Change4Life has worked with other government departments to launch sub-brands (such as Swim4Life, Play4Life and MuckIn4Life)
· three of the main health charities (Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK and British Heart Foundation) ran their own campaign in support of Change4Life and other non-Governmental organisations, such as Natural England and Sustrans, also supported the campaign
· businesses supported the movement, for example by providing free gym access, money off fruit and vegetables, and low cost bikes

[i] The US study showed that lifestyle change(weight loss, improved diet and being physically active) reduced the risk of developing glucose intolerance by 58%.

Notes to Editors

The new broadcast advertisement and stills are available from the Department of Health press office on 020 7210 5221.

Change4Life – One Year On is also available from the press office.

The website is at

The National Heart Forum report is available at

Change4Life is the social marketing component of the Government’s much broader response to the rise in obesity, as set out in Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: a cross-Government strategy for England (H M Government, 2008) and in Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: One Year On (HM Government, 2009).

Change4Life launched to the public in January 2009. In the spring of that year, the Government published the Change4Life marketing strategy (available at setting out the rationale for the programme, how it was intended to work, and what targets had been set for the first 12 months of activity.

Basket analysis

In a pilot study, dunnhumby analysed the actual purchases (using the Tesco Clubcard database) of 10,000 of the families who were most engaged with Change4Life. The analysis compared purchases made at Tesco during September, October and November 2009 (the intervention period) with the same three months of 2008 (i.e. pre-Change4Life). To factor out the impact of pricing and sales promotion, dunnhumby created a control group of 10,000 non Change4Life families who were demographically comparable and whose purchasing in 2008 matched the intervention group.

Profiling by dunnhumby confirmed that the Change4Life households did indeed contain a large proportion of lower income families (i.e. that the people who are engaging with Change4Life are from the right target audience segments.)

The analysis found differences in the purchasing behaviour of the intervention group relative to the control. In particular, there were changes in the purchases of beverages among Change4Life families, favouring low fat milks and low sugar drinks. More in depth analysis will be undertaken to confirm this.


Department of Health
Phone: 020 7210 5221

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