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Change4Life; Eat well, Move more, Live longer

School Of Nutrition Posted Jan 22, 2013 Future Fit Training


Laura Gandon looks at how the Change4Life campaign is improving the health of the nation and explains how you can get involved.

Change4Life; Eat well, Move more, Live longer

You’ve probably seen the adverts featuring play-dough figures and recognise the logo, but how much do you really know about the Change4Life campaign?

In 2008 the idea for Change4Life was launched through the government’s obesity strategy "Healthy Weight Healthy Lives". Its approach was new, innovative and exciting, unlike any previous health campaign. Previous promotions had taken the approach of scare-mongering and/or telling people not to behave in a certain way because it’s 'bad' for them. Change4Life acknowledged that maintaining a healthy weight is difficult in today’s society. It did not blame or point the finger, nor did it take an authoritarian approach hiding behind a 'we know best' government or NHS logo. You will never see or hear the words 'obese' as the general public do not know what that means. Also, instead of 'you' it favours 'we' as a peer approach. It has encouraged everyone working in the obesity field to club together beneath one logo, therefore creating a stronger societal movement.

The campaign quickly became one of the most instantly recognisable and had a high awareness by its target population (families with primary aged children). In 2011, the campaign grew to also target middle-aged adults. More recently (2012) the remit has widened to include alcohol and safe drinking - 'Stop the drinks sneaking up on you'.

There are a number of sub-brands within the campaign that promote a specific activity. Swim4Life, Bike4Life, Breakfast4Life, Play4Life, Walk4Life and Start4Life all promote the ethos of Change4Life but within a specific theme. For example, local walking groups could be marketed using the Walk4Life branding and marketing materials.

What resources are available?

www.nhs.uk/change4life is an excellent resource. It contains plenty of realistic information, advice and support alongside a number of practical resources such as a recipe finder, meal planner and healthier lunchboxes ideas. You can also type in your post code and find out what activities are happening in your local area.

The following 8 top tips highlight the key Change4Life behaviours for families to get healthy. Use these to guide you when working with families or parents with children. Read up about each top tip on the website.

  • Up and about
  • 60 active minutes
  • 5 a day
  • Meal time
  • Snack check
  • Me-size meals
  • Cut back on fat
  • Sugar swaps

The Change4Life typeface, images and logo, as well as a tool to help you design posters can all be downloaded and used for your marketing materials.

As a Nutrition and Weight Management Adviser, how can I get involved with Change4Life?

  • Register on the Change4Life website as a local supporter. You will be sent email updates, as well as be able to access case studies of good practice, download and order free resources
  • Encourage your clients to look at the website and sign up to any relevant initiatives
  • Use the Change4Life branding, marketing materials and resources in your advertising. This will make your promotion instantly recognisable and create a feeling of trust with your potential clients
  • Follow Change4Life on Twitter and 'like' on Facebook to keep your knowledge up-to-date

In summary, Change4Life is an excellent resource for you to use. It can provide you with plenty of free resources to use with your customers, a trustworthy and potentially client-generating marketing tool as well as a means for keeping your own knowledge up-to-date.

References

Healthy Weight Healthy Lives: A cross-government strategy for England (Department for Health, January 2008)

Change4Life One year on (Department for Health, February 2010)

Change4Life three year social marketing strategy (Department for Health, October 2011)

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