A feasibility study investigating body composition and physical activity levels in children taking part in the Daily Mile

Naomi Brooks, Josephine Booth, Ross Chesham, Emma Sweeney, Iain Mitchell, Gemma Ryde, Trish Gorely, Colin Moran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Childhood inactivity is linked to poorer physical and mental health during childhood and is associated with chronic ill-health in later life. The Daily Mile (DM) is an initiative introduced in a Primary School in Scotland where the pupils walk or run ~1 mile each day. The aim of the study was to describe the physical activity (PA) and obesity levels of children taking part in the DM. Consent was obtained from parents of 259 children (184 male; 177 female). Height (m) and weight (kg) were measured to calculate BMI (weight/height2). Z scores were calculated within year group by gender. On a sub-set of participants (n = 79), PA levels were objectively measured by accelerometers to assess amount of light, and moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA). Data were analysed by t-test of proportions, one-way ANOVA and GLM-ANOVA. For presentation, data were separated into Primary 1 – 3 (P1-3, age ~4–7 years) and Primary 4–7 (P4-7, age ~7–11 years). The percentage of boys and girls taking part in the DM who were categorised as obese was consistently below the Scottish Health Survey 2013 norms (Scottish norm): Boys P1-3: 7% (13%) P4-7 13% (17%); Girls P1-3 8% (13%) P4-7 13% (20%). However, all of these differences were non-significant. Objective measurement of physical activity revealed that boys averaged 51 mins/day and girls averaged 40 mins/day of MVPA with no difference between younger (P1-3) and older (P4-7) pupils. UK PA Guidelines define “active” as 60+ mins MVPA/day. “Somewhat active” can be characterised as 30–59 mins MVPA/day and “low active” as < 30 mins MVPA/day. In P1-3 Boys: 26% were active, 58% somewhat active, 16% low active; and P4-7 Boys: 26% were active, 61% somewhat active, 13% low active. In P1-3 Girls: 11% were active, 72% somewhat active, 17% low active; and P4-7 Girls: 5.3% active, 68% somewhat active, 26% low active. The proportion who were “somewhat active” was significantly higher than Health Survey England (HSE, 2012) data for age 4–10 years: boys 22% and girls 28%. All differences in active (HSE: boys 51%, girls 34%), or low active (HSE: boys 28%, girls 39%) were non-significant. Rates of obesity in a school implementing ~1 mile PA/day for over 3 years were not significantly below the Scottish average. Only 25% of boys and 9% of girls in this sample currently reach the UK PA Guidelines. In this cohort the DM appears to have more children “somewhat active” than national data. However, this data is cross sectional and further research is required to assess the effects of the intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe FASEB Journal
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Experimental Biology Annual Conference
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
EventExperimental Biology Annual Conference - San Diego, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Apr 20166 Apr 2016


ConferenceExperimental Biology Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CitySan Diego


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