Policymakers should consider introducing the Daily Mile to improve the health and fitness of schoolchildren around the world, according to new research.
The Daily Mile initiative involves children taking a 15-minute break from class to do physical activity. Children are encouraged to run, jog or walk around their school grounds, which is in addition to normal intervals and physical education lessons.
Now, the first study of the popular intervention has confirmed it improves fitness, body composition and activity levels in participants. The findings suggest the policy can help combat low physical activity, high sedentary behaviour, declining fitness levels and high levels of obesity.
The research was conducted at two junior schools in the UK. Children wore accelerometers. Body fat and average daily minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) were measured.
After correction for age and gender, significant improvements were observed in the intervention school compared to the control school for MVPA, sedentary time, fitness and body composition. There was a relative increase of 9.1 MVPA minutes per day and a decrease of 18.2 minutes/day in sedentary time. The intervention group also showed a relative decrease of 1.4mm in skinfolds.
The findings are published in BMC Medicine.