To compare children’s physical activity, mental wellbeing, and educational attainment in primary schools in London that take part in The Daily Mile™ with those that do not.
Active mile initiatives, such as The Daily Mile, are promoted in the UK’s Obesity Prevention Plan. They are designed to allow primary school children to achieve 30 minutes of physical activity during the school day, helping to meet the physical activity recommendations of at least 60 minutes of activity. However, less than half of children in England are meeting these targets, and particularly those in disadvantaged primary school populations in urban areas where physical activity is low.
The Daily Mile, targeted at the whole school, involves every child running or jogging for 15 minutes at least three times a week. We have found that one in five state-funded primary schools in England have registered to do The Daily Mile, and schools in urban areas with a higher proportion of disadvantaged pupils are more likely to register. A growing evidence base suggests short-term benefits of The Daily Mile (of up to a year) on children’s fitness. However, there is limited evidence of the impact on children’s mental health and educational attainment and its sustainability throughout primary school.
Design and methods
A longitudinal quasi-experimental cohort study in Greater London. We aim to recruit approximately 3,500 Year 1 primary school children (aged 5 to 6 years), half of whom from Daily Mile schools and half from non-Daily Mile schools. We are using accelerometers to measure mean minutes of daily physical activity and validated questionnaires to assess mental health and educational attainment of the child each year from baseline to the end of primary school.
We have worked with professional and public stakeholders throughout the design stages of the study and will continue to consult with them for the duration of the study. We set up The Daily Mile Research Advisory Group which includes representatives from The Daily Mile Foundation, Sport England, London Marathon and London Sport, and academic researchers. The group meet termly and provide strategic direction and share knowledge.
Key findings will be disseminated to the public through research networks, social, print and media broadcasts, community engagement opportunities and schools. We will work with policy makers for direct application and impact of our findings.
Foley KA, Venkatraman T, Ram B, et al. Protocol for developing a core outcome set for evaluating school-based physical activity interventions in primary schools. 2019. BMJ Open. 9 (12).
Venkatraman T, Honeyford K, Costelloe C, et al. Sociodemographic profiles, educational attainment and physical activity associated with The Daily Mile registration in primary schools in England: a national cross-sectional linkage study. 2020. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.