BURY Council is aiming to tackle rising obesity levels in young children by encouraging them to run for 15 minutes per day.

The council is calling on all primary schools in the borough to sign up to the Daily Mile programme, a national scheme that encourages children to be more active.

Councillor Andrea Simpson, chair of the council’s health and wellbeing board, said: “We’re keen for all primary schools in Bury to get involved with the Daily Mile scheme. It’s a fantastic programme that has clear benefits for the health and wellbeing of young children. The beauty of the scheme is its simplicity; there’s no cost involved, and teachers simply take their classes outside in the fresh air to run.

“We would love to be one of the first boroughs in England to have all primary schools signed up to the scheme. Tackling obesity at a young age and encouraging children to get more active early on is really important for the future health of Bury’s children.”

The Daily Mile was started in 2012 by Elaine Wyllie, a head teacher in Stirling, was concerned about the lack of basic fitness among young children. More than 1,000 schools in Scotland and 750 schools in England have now got behind the campaign.

The idea behind The Daily Mile is simple – to get young children fit and active by running for 15 minutes a day. This exercise is not timetabled - teachers simply take their classes outside at a time of their choosing.

The children don’t need to get changed; they just go outside in the fresh air and run.

Research shows that the scheme is a very effective way of tackling childhood obesity and children who take part in the scheme typically become fitter within just four weeks of being involved.

There are also many other benefits that have been demonstrated.

Teachers say that the children benefit from being outside in the fresh air, running with their friends.

It supports classroom learning and it improves the children’s confidence, concentration and behaviour.

Cllr Sharon Briggs, cabinet member for children and families, added: “Any initiative that encourages the borough’s children to get more active is definitely welcome. We have a number of primary schools in Bury already taking part in the Daily Mile, who have reported the positive effect the scheme has had on the children – not only in terms of their health and fitness, but also the benefits it has had on the children’s learning. I would encourage all schools to sign up, get involved and give it a go.”

It’s very simple for schools to sign up and take part in the scheme. All they have to do is visit the Daily Mile website: www.thedailymile.co.uk and register their involvement with the programme.

For enquiries about the programme, call Stefan Taylor, health improvement specialist, on 0161 253 6854 or email s.taylor@bury.gov.uk.