Calling all political parties to commit to improving the health and wellbeing of our children

Calling all political parties to commit to improving the health and wellbeing of our children

With parliament dissolved today ahead of the general election on 4th July, we enter a period when all political parties will be making manifesto commitments for the future. Quite rightly many of these commitments will focus on the big issues, including education, the NHS, and tackling inequalities. The Daily Mile Foundation agrees that these are some of our nation’s most important priorities, which is why we are asking all political parties to commit to improving the health and wellbeing of children by increasing opportunities for daily physical activity within our schools. Physical activity has the power to transform lives, to improve physical health, to improve children’s emotional and mental wellbeing, and to support academic attainment, and we witness this directly with children that enjoy their Daily Mile at school.

As humans we have evolved to need physical activity to maintain good health. When we stop moving regularly, as many of our children have, we suffer poor physical and mental health and build issues that can lead to life limiting health problems in the future, putting added pressure on our health services. By incorporating regular physical activity into our lives, as we do through The Daily Mile, we not only improve physical, mental, emotional, and social health in the short term, we also help increase children’s understanding of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and help develop positive habits for a lifetime.

We know that children are healthier and happier when they are active, and we know that healthy and happy children learn better and achieve more. Our mission is to help schools create environments where regular physical activity becomes part of school life.

All children, irrespective of age, ability or personal circumstances, should have access to daily physical activity. Our research shows that The Daily Mile is a wide-reaching intervention, that engages disadvantaged primary school populations, where physical activity levels are lowest, and obesity prevalence is highest. We know that more than half of children in England are not meeting the Chief Medical Officers guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and this is exacerbated further in relation to health inequalities.

We are asking all political parties to confront the public health challenge of rising inactivity levels by ensuring our schools are environments of daily movement where children are provided with positive experiences of physical activity that can help them become happy and healthy learners.

Gordon Banks

Global Director, The Daily Mile Foundation