GOOD

Here’s What Happens When Kids Run For 15 Minutes A Day

The initiative has an endearing backstory.

If you haven’t heard of the Daily Mile yet, your time has come. Now taking place in 3,600 primary schools each day in 35 countries around the world, it takes children outside during normal lesson time to run or walk laps of the playground for 15 minutes. The ones who run cover around a mile each day.

The initiative has an endearing back story. It was developed six years ago by St. Ninian's Primary School in Stirling in central Scotland after children and teachers felt the pupils needed to be in better physical condition.


Other schools quickly realized the value, and it started to spread. It is now happening in around half of the Scottish primaries and a quarter of those in England; while schools have also got on board everywhere from the U.S. to the United Arab Emirates to Nepal to Australia.

With all this enthusiasm, it was time for researchers to ask the obvious question: Is it really worth doing?

We have been part of a collaboration between the universities of Stirling and Edinburgh that has just published the first results.

Inactive children

The backdrop to The Daily Mile is a global childhood physical activity crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day – the kind that gets them out of breath. They should also do some resistance exercise each week to strengthen their muscles. Despite this, fewer than 40% of children achieve these recommended levels.

Independent of the exercise you do, too much time spent sitting or lying down (while awake) is also bad for your health. The recommended maximum is two hours of TV per day and limited sitting the rest of the time. Again, fewer than 40% of children around the world achieve this. The healthiest people do high amounts of moderate/vigorous exercise and spend low amounts of time sitting/reclining.

The number of overweight and obese children has increased dramatically in recent years, and lack of exercise and too much sitting around will be part of the reason. Overweight kids are at higher risk of diabetes, strokes, and heart disease in later years, so this directly affects both their quality of life and potentially their lifespan.

Equally alarmingly, children’s physical fitness has significantly declined since at least the 1980s. They can’t run as far without stopping as their parents could.

What we found

Governments have introduced various research-led interventions to combat these threats – increasing the intensity of physical education classes, for example – but with mixed success. There are basically two hurdles: any intervention needs to be something children will keep doing, and it has to improve their health.

The Daily Mile has the attraction of being both simple and designed not by researchers but by a teacher and some children. The fact that so many schools are participating suggests that children keep doing it. So how about the effect on their health?

Children do The Daily Mile at whatever time of day their teacher chooses. Typically, they do a mixture of walking and running, doing laps of a school pitch, or playground in normal school clothes and shoes. Importantly, each child sets their own pace and is free to talk to other pupils or teachers as they go.

We compared 391 children ages 4 to 12 years old in two local schools over the course of an academic year. One school was about to introduce The Daily Mile while the other was not.

At the start and end of the study, we measured each child in the following ways: fitness (by bleep test), physical activity levels, and sedentary time (both by accelerometer belts), and body fat (by skin fold calipers). (We looked at skin folds and not weight because body mass index is not great at measuring “fatness” in this age group: the results get warped by the weight of bones developing as kids get taller.)

The children in the school that introduced the Daily Mile increased their moderate/vigorous physical activity by nine minutes per day (around 15%), and cut their sedentary time by 18 minutes per day (around 6%). They saw a 40-meter increase (circa 5%) in how far they could run, while their skin folds reduced by an average of 1.4mm or 4%.

Some question the impact of The Daily Mile on lesson time, but there’s little reason for this. We have previously shown in almost 12,000 children that a single bout of similar exercise made them more awake, increased their attention and verbal memory, and improved their feelings of well-being. We have also heard anecdotal claims about other benefits such as better sleep and diet.

In short, our results suggest The Daily Mile is definitely worthwhile. In the future, we need to expand our research to understand whether it can work in different educational settings, such as high schools, and whether it works equally well for pupils from different backgrounds.

The ConversationFor the moment, The Daily Mile can certainly be part of the solution to child health and well-being. Look out for it: it could be here to stay.

Sports
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet