The association will encourage children aged four to 11 to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day on the premise that this can reduce their risk of stroke by a third.
The campaign, which promotes Stroke Awareness Week in October, aims to get teachers, parents, healthcare professionals and children’s organisations involved.
Using the strapline ‘Eat a Rainbow – Beat a Stroke’ and a collection of five cartoon characters called ‘The Stroke Preventers’, the association intends to build a strong relationship with children at an early age that can then be sustained into adulthood.
Competitions asking children to name the characters will be publicised in a bid to get them to start thinking about healthy eating in an interactive way.
‘The Stroke Association has never specifically targeted children before, even though a stroke can happen to anyone at any age,’ said The Stroke Association director of communications Gregg Vines.
The charity also hopes that children will encourage their parents and grandparents to think about healthy eating as a result of the campaign.
Blue Peter presenters will endorse the awareness week in media packs and lesson plans have been developed to publicise the campaign in schools. Children will be asked to create healthy eating menus at school and send the charity recipes for their own fruit smoothies.
The campaign will be promoted to health, women’s, parenting and children’s media, along with health professionals’ and teachers’ specialist press.