from Graham Neale, GlaxoSmithKline Nutritional Healthcare

Sir; Further to my Saturday Essay in The Grocer this summer (July 16, p40), I thought your readers might like to hear the outcome of the giant activity experiment we staged to test the theory that making exercise fun increases people’s willingness to do it. More than 2,000 people took part in Go-Ride-In - a family cycling festival in Manchester - and we conducted in-depth research before, during and after.
Four weeks later, 43% of the children who attended Go-Ride-In had either started cycling or were cycling more, according to their parents. What’s more, 67% of parents also believed their children’s new cycling level would be maintained for more than six months. This makes a powerful case for a new kind of event that enables the whole family to have fun being active together and marries exercise with entertainment.
Go-Ride-In was conceived after research we commissioned last year indicated that promotion of exercise should move from ‘frightening’ people into good habits to making exercise aspirational. Our initiative offers a blueprint for a joint private/public sector approach in the future.