Daily Walks Make Kids Healthier
The Daily Mile Program Improves Children's Fitness
Thanks to a program called The Daily Mile, Scottish schoolchildren have shown improvements in their fitness and body composition, researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Sterling report. Started by a teacher in 2012, the initiative encourages children to run, jog or walk around their school grounds during a 15-minute recess from classes in addition to normal activity and physical education lessons.
For the study, 391 pupils between 4 and 12 years old wore accelerometers to record their activity and were checked for body fat and overall fitness. Compared to a control group, they increased their physical activity by 9.1 minutes a day, lowered sedentary time by 18.2 minutes, ran 42 yards farther and significantly lowered their body fat.
“[The study] suggests that The Daily Mile is a worthwhile intervention to introduce in schools, and that it should be considered for inclusion in government policy, both at home and abroad,” says study author Colin Moran, Ph.D.
To date, the Scottish Government has extended it to half of the country’s primary schools, plus nurseries, colleges, universities and businesses. The Daily Mile Foundation reports that 3,600 schools in 35 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Jamaica, the Netherlands and the U.S., have embraced the program.
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This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.