Worrying statistics on the unhealthy lifestyles of the nation's youth have prompted the launch of a new "Move Your Butt" campaign by the Doctor-Patient Partnership (DPP) to increase health awareness about which foods to eat. The campaign coincides with a bid by the Barnados charity to boost exercise amongst toddlers, after it was found that childhood obesity has doubled in the last ten years, and that a fifth of all children under the age of four are clinically overweight.

A survey conducted by the DPP questioned 800 nine to 16-year-olds and found that around 75% had no idea how many portions of fruit and vegetables they should be eating a day. Moreover, a quarter of the children admitted that they never eat a proper breakfast, snacking instead on sweets and crisps on the way to school.  43% meanwhile revealed that they were unhappy about their current weight.
The "Move Your Butt" campaign has a difficult task as it targets schoolchildren in canteens and on the Internet with the aim of teaching youngsters how to live healthier lifestyles, and how to eat a better diet. Many children, according to the survey, prefer to spend their spare time watching television or playing on the Internet or with computer games, as opposed to playing sport.

CEO of the National Youth Agency, Tom Wylie, explained: "Nobody can force young people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but if we can provide them with the information they need, in an accessible and non-hectoring way, we enable them at least to make informed choices. Projects like this can play an important role in ensuring more young people decide for themselves to choose health."

In promoting its new "Toddler Training Programme," Barnardo's is hoping that good habits learnt at a young age will encourage a healthier life-long attitude. A series of ten simple exercises, such as hopping and star jumps, are accompanied by a music CD and picture cards. 

Scientists have warned about the necessity for regular exercise and healthy eating to become ingrained habits at a young age. The rising levels of obesity in UK youngsters will lead to increased rates of diabetes, heart disease and premature death in the future.