The Daily Mile is reaching over one million children, particularly in urban and deprived areas of England

Article title: Sociodemographic profiles, educational attainment and physical activity associated with The Daily Mile registration in primary schools in England: a national cross-sectional linkage study.

Tishya Venkatraman and researchers at Imperial College London, University College London and the University of Cambridge conducted research exploring the uptake of The Daily Mile across England and the characteristics of schools who register for the programme.

By linking national datasets they found that:

  • One in five schools in England is registered to do The Daily Mile
  • Daily Mile schools have a higher proportion of disadvantaged children and are located in urban areas
  • There is no association between Daily Mile registered schools and area-based physical activity levels, excess weight status, or schools’ educational attainment

From this they conclude that The Daily Mile appears to be a wide-reaching intervention (over one million children), that is reaching more disadvantaged primary school populations in urban areas, where physical activity levels are lowest, and obesity prevalence is highest.

A related study, launched this month, will track the impact of The Daily Mile initiative across all Greater London primary schools. Called the iMprOVE study, the research is one of the largest evaluations of its kind to monitor the impact of The Daily Mile on children’s physical activity, health and wellbeing over their primary school years.

Tishya Venkatraman, Imperial College London: “Currently less than half of children and young people in the UK meet the recommendation of an average of 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Our results are encouraging as they suggest one in five schools have registered for The Daily Mile initiative, which builds activity into the school day. The Daily Mile can be carried out at safe social distances, which makes it suitable for our current times.”

Professor Sonia Saxena, Head of the Child Health Unit at Imperial College London: “It’s important to ensure children get regular classroom breaks to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well as benefit from getting the chance to be physically active after these long months of lockdown. Physical activity is crucial for children’s physical and mental health, and The Daily Mile could be a much needed scheme for helping children stay well throughout the pandemic.”

Read the full article online, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health on 2nd October 2020.