By Claire West

Families will get more help this year to eat more healthily and get active thanks to the successful Change4Life healthy living brand, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced today.

This year’s Change4Life activity — the Great Swapathon — will give mums and dads tips, help and advice to help them make 2011 the year they get their families healthy.

Families are being urged to swap at least one unhealthy habit for a healthier one. The Government is aiming to deliver one million swaps from unhealthy to healthier lifestyle choices, among families and adults in England.

Through the Great Swapathon, families can get access to:

a £50 book of vouchers for money off healthier foods and activities;
recipes for healthier alternatives to favourite snacks;
recipes for family options for each meal time; and
nutritional and activity advice.
The £250 million voucher booklet scheme will help to incentivise people to make pledges and swaps. Four million £50 voucher books will be available through News of the World and ASDA stores - as well as one million through Change4Life supporters in the community.

This is a revolutionary new partnership between Government, industry and the media. It sees food and drink manufacturers and activity providers join together with the Government, News of the World and Asda, to support families to choose healthier options.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

“This is a very exciting initiative. It’s a great example of how Government, the media, industry and retailers can work together to help families to be healthy.

“The healthy option isn’t always the cheapest option so it’s a really important step to be able to offer £50 off healthier foods, drinks and activities. Asda is even offering 20 per cent off dining room furniture to encourage families to sit round a table together for meals.

“I’d like to thank all the partners involved in this exciting project and I hope that it leads to more and more help from industry to support healthy choices.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Interim Chief Medical Officer for England said:

“The New Year is a great time to think about making some small changes to be a little bit healthier. My simple tips are to be a bit more active and eat a little more healthily.

“Ideally we should be doing 30 minutes of exercise five times a week — or an hour a day for children. Exercise doesn’t have to be painful — you could take the dog for a walk or play with your kids in the park. Anything that gets your heart pumping.

“And we should try to eat five portions of fruit and veg every day. For some healthy, inexpensive recipes visit

The Great Swapathon focuses on getting people across the country to swap unhealthy behaviours in food, alcohol and physical activity, to healthier ones. To help people with their swaps, the Department of Health has launched an online tool ‘Your Great Swapathon’ where people are given swaps to follow as well as helpful hints and tips to help them make their healthy swaps.