MPs discussed the most effective ways to allocate funding from the soft drinks industry levy for sport inside and outside of schools, today in a Westminster Hall debate tabled by Justin Tomlinson MP.
David Rutley, MP for Macclesfield, called on Government to prioritise efforts to encourage schools to adopt Active Mile initiatives during 2017.
David argued that active mile concepts, which were referenced in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan, are “simple, basic initiatives, that encourage and inspire children, taking just 15 minutes out of the day to run, walk, or jog.”
“They are fun, non-competitive and inclusive,” said David. “Something everyone can engage with, and they help to encourage more children to get their 60 minutes of activity at school.”
He further noted that the positive effects that active mile schemes and other physical activities can have on children’s academic performance, which he said left kids more awake, more alert, and more focused on their lessons. This argument was echoed by Mr Tomlinson, who noted that physical activity was good for [children’s] health and good for academic improvement.
David also advocated the role that organisations such as ukactive can play in facilitating the rollout of active mile schemes, including the Golden Mile, a year-round program which is run by Premier Sport.
Ukactive’s Executive Director Steven Ward said: “Today’s children are the least active generation ever so it’s encouraging to see this urgent issue moving higher up the Westminster agenda and all credit to Justin Tomlinson MP for initiating this debate on how the money from the Sugar Levy should be spent to ensure it has greatest impact.”
“Active mile schemes have shown themselves to be a great way of getting children moving more in school and should be rolled out nationwide, but ukactive research shows that children are least active when they’re at home, so money from the Sugar Levy should also be used beyond the school gates to offer activity sessions that are accessible for all over holiday periods,” said Steven.
These calls come in the wake of a recent report from ukactive; Blueprint for an Active Britain: Milestone Review, which called for the national roll out of active mile concepts, offering a simple way for schools to incorporate an inclusive physical activity into schools.
ukactive is the UK’s leading not-for-profit health body for the physical activity sector, with almost 4,000 members from activity providers to major consumer brands, training facilities and equipment manufacturers. For more information, visit their website.