New healthy living education programme launched by UK Anti-Doping, Sport England, and Team GB

A new education programme called ‘Think Real’, launching today, is aiming to tackle the growing problem of inactive lifestyles and health issues among UK schoolchildren. The programme, aimed at 11-to-16 year-olds, looks to help teachers, sports leaders and coaches to support young people in making healthy, informed decisions in nutrition, recovery and physical activity to build well-rounded healthy habits.

Think Real has been put together by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), Sport England, Team GB, ParalympicsGB and the English Institute of Sport (EIS), as part of the Get Set resources for educators in and out of the classroom environment.

NHS research, cited in the development of the programme, shows that young people are increasingly struggling to maintain healthy, active lifestyles, with 88% of 13-to-15 year-olds not meeting their daily recommended physical activity allowance. Another study, carried out by the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health last year, highlights an increasing reliance on sugar-laden energy drinks by young people in Britain, with consumption soaring by 185% between 2006 and 2015.

The Think Real programme aims to support schools in their ambitions to improve the health of pupils, through resources focusing on a range of topics including getting active and healthy eating, as well as sleep hygiene, doping in sport and managing stress.

Resources have all been developed with support from both teachers and young people, and the videos within the programme each feature stories from young people at different levels of sporting engagement, reflecting their own real-life experiences with sport and healthy habits.

UKAD’s Head of Education, Amanda Hudson, said: “It is great to be working with our partners on this new programme for schools that will help young people have conversations about lifestyle choices and the impact these choices may have on their health and well-being.

“At UKAD, we believe the key messages involved in Think Real, especially around the health and moral risks of doping, and encouraging a natural, food-first approach to nutrition, can ensure children grow up to make intelligent, informed choices, and ultimately reduce the risk of doping in sport.

“We urge more schools to engage in this new programme by utilising the free resources to prepare future generations to be healthy and active.”

Jan Paterson, Chief Executive of the British Olympic Foundation (the charitable arm of the British Olympic Association), said: “From its inception, Get Set has looked to work with young people to help educate them through the power of sport. Health and well-being is a fundamental part of a young person’s life, now more so than ever before, and the thought-provoking Think Real campaign will help to support them in making informed choices in everyday life.

“We know only too well that the stars of tomorrow come from a variety of backgrounds and face a multitude of complex decisions day-to-day. Think Real can really kick-start strong, healthy habits, not just in the short term but for life and that is why it is with great pride we join with partners to deliver this campaign.”

The launch follows the news of Sport England’s £13.5m scheme to train 17,000 teachers in delivering PE and sport in school, after research found that almost 20% of secondary students hated PE lessons.

Take a look at Think Real here.