A fun fancy dress event is set to encourage children and their parents to get fit by doing more walking.

On Friday (January 28th 2011), pupils at Alderman Leach Primary School in Darlington are to help launch the Great Swapathon, the Northern Echo reports.

This is an initiative organised by NHS Change4Life and aims to get people to make little changes to their daily routine in order to make them healthier.

As part of the programme, pupils will be asked to walk to school for just one day this week, providing the added bonus that the school will be almost car-free.

However, to make it more fun, the youngsters will be allowed to dress up in 1980s fancy dress.

The decade was chosen because one in six people travelled to school by car back then, compared to one in four today.

According to BBC Health, only 37 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women currently get the recommended 30 minutes of physical exercise five days a week that is recommended by the government.