Chalkley A, Aitkin L, Booth J, Brannan M, Crane C, Daly-Smith A, Griffin I, Holmes I, Moran C, Nasir N, Poole R, Ryde G, Sherar L, Sollars L, Williams L & Wright C (2020) Active Mile Briefing: Evidence And Policy Briefing. Public Health England. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/active-mile-briefings
Active mile initiatives can be defined as initiatives that support pupils to be active during the school day by providing regular opportunities for them to move around a marked route for a dedicated period of time (for example 15 minutes) and at a self-directed pace. It is thought that if moving continuously for this amount of time, most children will accumulate the equivalent distance of approximately one mile. As such, they have been termed as active mile initiatives.
Active mile initiatives have gained in popularity and momentum over recent years. Whilst there is much evidence surrounding the health benefits of physical activity for children and young people, there is currently limited peer-reviewed high-quality evaluation and/or research which has focussed specifically on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of active mile initiatives. Furthermore, active mile initiatives have predominantly focused on primary schools, therefore there is limited research and/or information on their delivery with other age groups and/or settings such as nurseries and secondary schools. However, many of the principles are equally valid, for example they require no specialised equipment or resources.
The evidence base surrounding active mile initiatives is evolving, and further research is needed to be able to draw firm conclusions. However, the evidence reviewed in this document indicates that active mile initiatives:
• are intuitively appealing to schools as a means of providing regular physical activity and have high levels of acceptability among teachers and pupils
• provide a simple physical activity opportunity for pupils which is suitable for all ages and are fully inclusive
• can make a meaningful contribution to the in-school delivery of 30 active minutes and the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation of an average of at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day across the week
• can contribute to improvements in children’s health and wellbeing if implemented as part of a whole school approach to physical activity
• should provide an additional opportunity to be active during the school day, they are not equivalent to and should not replace Physical Education (PE)
This briefing accompanies, and should be used alongside, Implementing active mile initiatives in primary schools and Practice examples of active mile initiatives in schools.