Skip to main content


Volume 705: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Healthy Weight, Healthy Living, published in January 2008, announced a social marketing campaign of £75 million over three years. It now has the committed support of a range of partners, from industry to local grass-roots organisations. This is the first coalition of its kind to be brought together by the Government to tackle the growing problem of obesity.

Change4Life is a lifestyle revolution which will help families eat well, move more and live longer. Under the banner Change4Life, the Government are aiming to galvanise support from everyone in the country, from grass-roots organisations to leading supermarkets and charities.

Before Change4Life was created, the department undertook detailed research to test what messages would work with families. That research is published today and shows that:

parents do not recognise that their children are overweight—just 11.5 per cent of parents with overweight or obese children recognise it;

parents underestimate how much unhealthy food and convenience food they buy as well as overestimating the amount of activity their children do;

only 38 per cent of adults know that obesity can lead to heart disease and only 6 per cent know about the link of cancer with being overweight;

many families use snacks as rewards, as fillers during times of boredom and to appease conflict;

parents of older children are more worried about not feeding them enough and the risk of eating disorders such as anorexia; and

lack of knowledge, confidence and skills is the main barrier which stops parents cooking from scratch.

These statistics are a convincing evidence base for the campaign. They demonstrate the need for a change in people’s lifestyles, and Change4Life aims to provide the information to enable families to make healthier informed choices.

The brand of Change4Life has now been unveiled, and the first partner organisations have revealed their pledges, which set out what they plan to do to help people make healthier choices in their lives. In addition to commercial partners, 12,400 local activists have signed up and many more have pledged their support. The pledges of commercial partners are as follows:


Tesco stores serve 20 million customers per week and employ more than 250,000 people. The organisation is committed to spreading the word on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle among its customers and workforce.

Tesco will also run themed Change4Life promotional activity (Change4Life for Less) in-store on healthier products, and its customer magazine, which reaches 5 million customers, will include features on the campaign and tips to help customers get healthier.

Tesco will support the campaign with a range of other initiatives. Its store-based community champions, staff members dedicated to understanding and linking up with the communities around its stores, will support the project with activities tailored to their own communities, ranging from stalls in-store to tell customers about the campaign, to visits to schools.


Asda serves more than 16 million customers a week and employs 165,000 people. Asda and its CEO, Andy Bond, have committed to supporting Change4Life.

Asda will be actively supporting Change4Life in communications to customers and colleagues, through its trading activity, including promotions that encourage healthier eating, and the Asda website. Asda will dedicate space to profiling Change4Life in each issue of the Asda magazine, which has a circulation of 3 million and an estimated readership of 5.5 million.

Asda has also committed to supporting Bike4Life to promote cycling as a fun, safe activity that all the family can do. Asda CEO, Andy Bond, will cycle from Land’s End to John O'Groats in August 2009 to raise £1 million for a new charity that will be set up to make cycling easier and more affordable for families living in deprived communities. This ride will be supported by a strong promotional campaign and events for customers and colleagues in all of Asda's stores.

Asda's sporting chance, which gives children access to free sports sessions in the school holidays, will be co-branded with Change4Life.


Kellogg's is the UK’s best-selling grocery brand.

Kellogg's will support the campaign by entering into a new funding agreement and programme with ContinYou to expand the highly successful breakfast clubs programme under the Breakfast4Life umbrella. This project includes an investment of £100,000 a year for the next three years, and broadening the partnership to include complementary organisations. Kellogg's and ContinYou aims to develop breakfast clubs in the 500 most deprived areas in Britain, and promote universal access to breakfast clubs for every child by 2013.

Kellogg's will also support the Swim4Life programme in a number of ways. It will be providing an additional £240,000 a year to Swim Active for the next three years. This money will be invested in new Swim Active projects that encourage reluctant swimmers into the water. This new activity, and other activities developed with the ASA, will be co-branded Swim4Life.

Kellogg's will also co-brand the Fit For Life workplace campaign with Change4Life. This campaign provides Kellogg's 2,000 employees with nutritional and exercise programmes as part of an FDF/BiTC programme.

Fitness Industry Association

The Fitness Industry Association is committed to getting its 2,500 members to actively promote Change4Life. It will create a Change4Life promotion for summer 2009, which will involve members opening their doors to new exercisers, free of charge, to try a range of activities.

This is in addition to co-branding its dance and school programmes, and aligning its GO programme for young girls who are turned off sport to the Change4Life.


PepsiCo as an organisation is committed to supporting Play4Life by producing a PSA print/outdoor advertisement to promote the benefits of active play and increase activity, using the wealth of sporting talent contracted to it.

PepsiCo has a portfolio of household brands that is well placed to support Change4Life. Through Tropicana, for example, it will extend its partnership with its current breakfast club partner, Magic Breakfast, under the Breakfast-4-Life umbrella.

National convenience stores

In November Costcutter, Nisa and Mills Group and a number of other retailers are taking part in a Change4Life programme in the north-east to improve the accessibility of fresh fruit and vegetables in low-income areas.

They are investing in new chillers in prominent locations at the front of stores, offering a wider range with strong Change4Life branding, providing tips and hints to customers and staff on how to eat more fruit and vegetables, as well as offering promotions on fruit and vegetables.

The programme will be rolled out to a total of 120 stores in the north-east by next June.


ITV is pledging to support the Change4Life movement on-screen and online. In the new year it will be running a campaign to encourage its viewers to pledge to lose weight, eat more healthily and take more exercise.

Launched on ITV1, the campaign will include eight weeks of national and regional activity, tracking viewers’ progress in meeting personal pledges to lead healthier lives.