Imperial researchers to study impact of school children running a mile a day

Imperial College London has partnered with the Daily Mile Foundation to assess the impact of the primary school initiative.

The research partnership aims to provide evidence for the long-term physical health and educational impact of The Daily Mile, a free initiative that sees children run or jog for 15 minutes every day in their primary and nursery schools.

Long-term impact

The three-year project commenced in late 2018 to analyse the long-term impact of The Daily Mile for primary school children. The project will provide the first large scale assessment of the potential impact of The Daily Mile on the health and educational achievement of pupils in primary schools across England. The study will also assess the socio-demographic profile of schools who do The Daily Mile, to explore in particular how the programme impacts schools in disadvantaged areas.

The potential lifelong health benefits of investing in daily physical activity are immense but need strong science to support its implementation. Professor Sonia Saxena School of Public Health

The project will aim to address two key questions: whether schools who participate in The Daily Mile have better physical health and educational attainment, and whether these improvements are sustained over primary school life.

Sonia Saxena, Professor of Primary Care at Imperial’s School of Public Health, is the project’s principal investigator, supported by a team of researchers. The research will analyse data from a range of sources, including national data sets, such as the National Childhood Measurement Programme and information gathered from primary schools across England, to answer the research questions.

The collaborative research partnership was announced at a children’s fun-run event, GO Run for Fun, which saw over 2,400 children and 45 schools cross the finishing line in London’s Battersea Park.

Inclusive intervention

Professor Saxena said: “The Daily Mile is a great example of a simple, free inclusive intervention that has built in sustainability because it has grown from grass roots. The potential lifelong health benefits of investing in daily physical activity are immense but need strong science to support its implementation. We look forward to working closely with the Foundation over the coming years.”

Elaine Wyllie MBE, founder of The Daily Mile said: “We’ve seen the positive impact of The Daily Mile for the 8,850 schools and nurseries across the world that are already taking part. We are very excited to work with Imperial College London to really understand the physical, mental and social benefits.”

The extensive research project will be funded by INEOS over a three year period.

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