BRADFORD researchers are hoping a new exhibition in the city next month will encourage parents to bring up super-charged youngsters.

When the Walk That Walk exhibition opens at Bradford Cathedral on Thursday (it runs to September 5), it will bring the work of Born in Bradford, one of the biggest and most important medical research studies in the UK, into focus.

Its organisers are hoping it will inspire visitors to get out of their armchairs and use their feet more instead of opting for a more sedentary lifestyle.

To get the message across that exercise is important, the Walk That Walk exhibition will link up photographs of everyday people strolling around the city snapped by social photographer Ian Beesley and a series of poems by Ian McMillan with some of its research so far.

Ann Barratt, family liaison officer at Born in Bradford, explained: “It will encourage armchair readers to venture outdoors and is recommended for strengthening walking resolve on a damp, grey Bradford morning.

"After all, walking is a natural medicine for the body. It can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as helping us to stay healthy in body and mind.”

The project’s principal research fellow, Dr Sally Barber, is just one of the researchers tracking the lives of 13,500 babies born at Bradford Royal Infirmary since 2007 to find out more about the causes of childhood illness by studying children from all cultures and backgrounds as their lives unfold.

The effect being active, and that includes walking, has on young lives as they grow up is just one of the many areas being looked at, says Dr Barber.

"We are looking at data we have collected from some of the youngsters when they were three and now they are six to compare their activity levels but we already know from other people's research that active parents have active children and that activity does tend to drop off as they get older.

"What we want to do is to encourage parents to bring up super-charged youngsters right from the start so that as the children get older any drop in their activity is not such a steep decline."

Previous research has also found that children who are introduced to regular walking continue to do it into adulthood. Dr Barber said: "Encouraging them to walk in their everyday life right from the start is really important."

Born in Bradford researchers are currently designing and testing new ways to support children and families to be active and walk more by getting involved with schools, one of those ideas is looking at playground lay-out and improving walking routes to schools.