Pupils from Pondhu School led Cornwall Council Chief Executive Kate Kennally, Cabinet portfolio holder for Children Cllr Sally Hawken on a mile long walk this lunchtime to promote a proven initiative to combat childhood obesity.
In Cornwall around 27% of children aged 4-5 are identified as overweight through the National Child Measurement Program and the current trend is for this figure to increase throughout the primary school years to around 32% by age 10-11.
Schools across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are being encouraged to sign up to the Daily Mile challenge in a bid to tackle physical inactivity and childhood obesity.
The Daily Mile was started in February 2012 by Elaine Wyllie, who was then Head Teacher of a large Scottish Primary school in Stirling, Scotland.
Without wasting time to change into special kit or clothing, every child goes out each day in the fresh air to run, jog or walk for 15 minutes. It is not competitive – most children will average a mile in that time, with some doing more and some doing less. The benefits to teachers and other staff members have also been well documented as many adults aren’t reaching the recommended amount of physical activity. The daily mile also offers an opportunity for informal interaction between staff and children of all year groups.
In addition to the physical activity, The Daily Mile has proven help social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing.
The program proved so beneficial that in November 2015, the Scottish Government wrote to every Scottish primary school to recommend that they implement the scheme, the Welsh government followed suit in 2017.
Seven schools in Cornwall are already signed up to the Daily Mile Foundation and running a daily mile and now every school is being encouraged to adopt it.
Councillor Hawken said: “The Daily Mile is a really quick and easy way for everyone to get more active. Even gentle physical activity daily can have a positive impact on mental health, concentration levels as well as reducing weight. Small steps can make a big difference, and it’s important that we work towards reducing the health impacts from obesity in Cornwall.”