A research project starts in the city this week to find out if introducing pre-school children to a programme of exercise improves their health.

Pre-Schoolers in the Playground (PiP) is the latest project run by the Born in Bradford research team and will see staff going in to Newby, Barkerend , Carrwood and Green Lane primary schools to talk to parents about enrolling their pre-school age children on to the physical health intervention programme.

Some of the schools will provide an activity programme for pre-school children while other schools will be part of a control group, where there will be no programme this year and families just continue with their normal routines.

Families will complete questionnaires and all the children will have height and weight measurements taken before, during and after the programme.

In the schools where the PiP programme is run, the school playground will be made available for parents to use with their younger children after dropping older children off at school or before picking them up. The children will have the opportunity to use the outdoor space to run freely and to use the school’s play facilities.

The new project comes as Born in Bradford prepares for its re-arranged Teddy Bears’ Picnic in Lister Park, Manningham , on Friday from 2.30pm to 5pm.

Born in Bradford programme manager Dr Rosie McEachan said: “In this Olympic year we have chosen a sporty theme for the event.

“A lot of the research we are carrying out is looking at the diet and physical activity habits of parents and children, seeing where there are problems and then supporting Bradford families to make healthier choices. I am really looking forward to meeting BiB families and having a great time with my family at this fun event.”

The picnic will be attended by Olympic torch bearer 74-year-old Brenda Thomson and Bradford’s Ministry of Food will be demonstrating pancake making.

The Ministry of Food get their fresh produce from Solly’s Fruit and Veg stall at the Oastler Market and Solly’s is supplying free fruit for all the children and raffling off a big hamper of fresh fruit.

At 4pm project photographer Ian Beesley will be taking a picture of all those attending the event.

Family liaison officer Ann Barratt said: “We realised that Ian would have to be high up so we looked for a company who would set up a scaffold tower for us. We were really fortunate that the owners of JMB Scaffolding are BiB parents and they have kindly donated the tower for free. We hope to see lots of families enjoying all the activities on offer at the event.”

Other attractions include life-size bears and the chance to win one of Hallmark’s Forever Friends bears at the firm’s stall. All this is in addition to the health, Council, children’s centre and voluntary sector staff who will be giving out advice and information about their services to families.