Mission Active Future: Taking the message of active lifestyles into the community

Liz Peniston

By: Liz Peniston | Date: 27/06/2011

The year is 2105AD. The whole population has become inactive and lazy…

The potentially devastating effects of future generations not leading active lifestyles have been a subject of great debate in recent years. Some of what is in the media about children becoming weak, unfit and obese is just scare mongering but the statistics clearly show a downward trend in activity and the impact on health – and happiness – is undeniable.

Our Mission: Active Future project is a unique travelling exhibition which reaches out into communities to help switch children on to active lifestyles. It is based around a story created in consultation with children about a team of children who have travelled back from the future to warn about what could happen if we lead an inactive and unhealthy lifestyle. It makes getting active educational and fun – and puts children in control.

1.      Encouraging children to lead the way in getting active

Switching children on to the importance of an active lifestyle isn’t as simple as making PE or walking to school compulsory. Children can be the motivation for the whole family to lose weight. Mission: Active Future encourages children to become ambassadors for getting active and staying active. It allows them to discover their own potential to engage with physical and sustainable activity.

2.      Making physical activity open to all children

Research shows that the barriers children face in engaging in physical activity are safety, hills and landscape, knowledge, past failures, physical discomfort, effort, fear.

Mission: Active Future addresses these barriers directly by providing a safe environment, opening up safe, free opportunities to take part in physical activity in the community and promoting physical activity in an educational way to demonstrate the benefits for individual children. It also avoids prejudice by not specifically target weight loss and ensuring there are no failures by setting individual goals with no competitive elements.

3.      Helping underprivileged children avoid obesity and other health problems

Underprivileged children are more likely to suffer from obesity and other health problems as a result of poor diet and lack of activity. The mobility of Mission: Active Future allows it to target specific areas and schools where levels of healthy eating and physical activity are particularly poor. The Mission: Active Future project provides a platform that makes 30 minutes of exercise accessible to all by demonstrating how it can be easily built into daily routines. It also encourages families to play and get active together at home.

Children have a huge role to play in leading the way in making us all more active – but what more can teachers, parents and the media do to stop the scare mongering and set a good example?

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