Communications News: BHF aims to entice teenagers to form good health habits

The British Heart Foundation is inviting teenagers to create their own health warnings for cigarette packets, on a new website in a drive designed to get them thinking about heart health from a young age.

Yheart.net aims to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic engulfing the nation – more than a quarter of 15-year-olds in England are overweight or obese. It is targeted at 11 to 16-year-olds and contains games, quizzes, competitions, and a ‘Worry Zone’, which answers questions about visitors’ own health.

The site also has a page of suggested warnings for cigarette packs, such as ‘You smell awful’ or ‘Smoking – a dying habit’, and urges users to design their own. The warnings can be printed off and attached to packets belonging to family members or friends.

The site also features a regular pop-up message telling the user to stop surfing the internet and go and do some exercise instead.

Nicki Cooper, the charity’s head of education, said research suggests that habits formed in childhood are likely to continue into adulthood, so the website aims to encourage children to think about their diet and lifestyle at an early age.

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