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The Daily Mile: is this initiative fit to get children moving?

A 12-week school trial of a 15-minute jog shows positive outcomes but concerns over practical implementation

 

A 12-week school trial of a 15-minute jog shows positive outcomes but concerns over practical implementation  

Picture shows children running. The Daily Mile – which aims to get every child out of the classroom for a 15-minute jog – is the answer to concerns over physical inactivity
Picture: Alamy

With physical inactivity a major public health concern and over 75% of children in the UK failing to achieve recommended activity levels, this study examined if the The Daily Mile – which aims to get every child out of the classroom for a 15-minute jog – is the answer.

To assess factors instrumental to replication and/or wider implementation, 75 children (mean age seven years) in one school trialled the intervention over 12 weeks and data were collected in self-report logs, perceived exertion scores and structured observation. 

Focus groups with pupils, teachers, parents and governors, explored perceptions of the intervention and factors supporting or inhibiting it. Teachers delivered The Daily Mile on 93.6% of school days and 95.2% of students participated, 94.2% completing the recommended 15 minutes. 

Time pressures and name-calling

While teachers and governors accepted the benefits of physical activities, concerns were expressed on the feasibility of including it in pressured teaching time, especially given extra time factors (changing footwear, for example, meant it took longer than 15 minutes). 

Many students reflected on happy experiences when participating, although a small number mentioned name-calling for being slow during the activity. 

Whole school approaches and significant planning are required to implement such interventions, and more research is needed to establish outcomes and cost-effectiveness.


Reference

Harris J, Milnes LJ, Mountain G (2019) How 'The Daily Mile™' works in practice: A process evaluation in a UK primary school. Journal of Child Health Care. doi: 10.1177/1367493519880049 



Vari Drennan is professor of healthcare and policy research at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London

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