Doctor Terrorvision prescribes active lifestyles for Leeds children

A specially commissioned musical theatre production at the Carriageworks Theatre will see families encouraged to set a limit on screen time and enjoy being active as Year Four children from Five Lanes Primary School perform to a VIP audience on 11th February.

The Public Health team at Leeds City Council commissioned the show which gets children to think about how much time they spend in front of TVs, computers and other screens. Dr Terrorvision is a humorous and touching musical, specially written and composed by All Things Considered Theatre. It brings to life the messages that time spent in front of screens by 5 -16 year-olds in Britain is nearly six hours a day and this can have a big impact on how active children are.

They will be joined by award winning Dance Action Zone Leeds (DAZL) performing #ASHTAG, where young dancers explore the negative impact smoking has on young people, especially young dancers whilst promoting the positive identity of being a young person who doesn’t smoke.

Jan Burkhardt, Health Improvement Specialist with Leeds City Council, said:“We know from research that overall time spent in front of screens by children in Britain is nearly forty hours per week and this means many children lead inactive lives which can affect their health. We want to encourage children and their parents to think of other things they can do to be more active and have fun.

“From February, Leeds City Council’s Public Health team have arranged for all Leeds schools to be offered the scripts and soundtracks to Dr Terrorvision so that they can stage the musical in their schools too. With the musical able to be performed by children aged 7 – 11 years, it offers a great way for families to be involved around the city and helps bring to life the potential risks of excessive screen time in a fun and engaging way, as well as highlighting the importance of being active.”

An early version of the musical was premiered at Castleton Primary last June and was well received by the families who watched it. Claire Watkins, who teaches at Five Lanes Primary, said:

“The children have worked really hard with All Things Considered to make this show work. We’ve got zombies, Terror World and all sorts of other surprises to make the musical fun to perform as well as to watch. As well as being fun, it is also delivering a really important message about being active and healthy, a message we really hope sticks with everyone involved.”

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“It can come as a shock to realise quite how long many of us spend in front of the TV or computer consoles. Doctor Terrorvision is a really entertaining way to promote the message that we need to think about how long we spend in front of screens and that being active can really help our health.”

Notes for editors

If you wish to interview any of the children or others involved, or wish to take photos at the event, please contact Phil Morcom (contact details below).

What is Screen Time?Time spent watching TV or on mobile phones, games consoles, computers etc.

How much do we watch?• The overall time spent in front of screens by 5 -16 year-olds in Britain was nearly six hours a day not including any school time

• The average 10-year-old has access to five different screens at home

What are the risks of sedentary behaviour and excessive screen time?

• Excessive TV viewing can out children at risk of being overweight or obese

Unhealthy eating habits

• TV viewing acts as a distraction resulting in a lack of awareness of actual food consumption, leading to over consumption and increased energy intake

Sedentary behaviour

• Some evidence shows that high levels of sedentary behaviour are linked to obesity, independently of physical activity levels

Exposure to TV advertising

• Television advertises mainly highly processed, energy dense products

• Overweight and obese children and those who watch high levels of TV are particularly susceptible to food promotion on TV

Change4Life campaign suggests; “It can help to set a limit on how long we sit still in front of TV, computer or video games. Some families have found saying “2 hours max” of screen time each day helps make sure kids jump up and play or go outside once they have been sitting around for a while.

Aims of the Musical:

• To create a short piece of musical theatre for primary age school children to perform for their families with the intention of:

• Raising the issue of TV/screen time and its effects on children’s health and wellbeing

• Raising the issue of the importance of physical activity and free play for children’s health and wellbeing

• Encouraging behaviour change in families around limiting TV/screen time and encouraging children to be active

Target group: Children and their parents/carers in disadvantaged communities in Leeds

To book a place contact: benjamin.foord@leeds.gov.uk - (Administrator, Leeds Public Health Team)

Issued by:Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team

Leeds City Council, 4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 0772 227 5370

Tel: 0113 395 0393

Fax: 0113 247 4736