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The Daily Mile: teachers’ perspectives of the barriers and facilitators to the delivery of a school-based physical activity intervention
  1. Stephen Malden1,2,
  2. Lawrence Doi1
  1. 1 Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2 Physical Activity for Health Group, University of Strathclyde School of Psychological Sciences and Health, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to Stephen Malden; stephen.malden{at}


Objectives Children spend a significant amount of their time in a school environment, often engaged in sedentary activities. The Daily Mile is a physical activity intervention which aims to increase physical activity and fitness in children through the completion of an outdoor teacher-led walk or run during the school day. This study aimed to explore the barriers, facilitators and perceived benefits of the Daily Mile from the perspectives of teachers through the use of qualitative semi-structured interviews. It also aimed to identify important context-specific factors, which might require consideration for those who intend to adopt the Daily Mile.

Setting Eight Local Authority primary schools in the City of Edinburgh and East Lothian, UK.

Participants Thirteen teachers (eleven women) who teach children in primaries one to seven in a school which delivered the Daily Mile.

Results Data were analysed using an interpretative thematic analysis. Teachers were positive and enthusiastic about the Daily Mile and perceived it to be beneficial to children’s health and fitness. A number of barriers to participation were identified including inadequate all-weather running surfaces and time constraints in an already full school curriculum. The perceived impact on learning time was identified as a concern for teachers, while other benefits were also identified including increased teacher–child rapport and perceived enhanced classroom concentration levels.

Conclusion The Daily Mile appears to be a valuable addition to the school day, however important context-specific barriers to delivery of the Daily Mile exist, which should be considered when implementing the Daily Mile in schools.

  • physical activity
  • daily mile
  • education
  • teacher
  • school

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  • Contributors SM and LD designed the study and conducted data collection with participants. Both authors analysed the data, and SM drafted the first draft of the manuscript. SM and LD revised and prepared the final draft of the manuscript for submission.

  • Funding This work was supported by a University of Edinburgh Innovation Initiative Grant under Grant number GR002292. The authors were both employed by the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP), University of Edinburgh. At the time of the study, SCPHRP’s core Grant was from the Medical Research Council (Grant Number MR/K023209/1) and the Chief Scientist Office of Scotland.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was granted by The University of Edinburgh’s Usher Research Ethics Group, and Local Authority research in schools permission was obtained prior to recruitment.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Ethical restriction by the University of Edinburgh Centre for Population Health Sciences Research Ethics Committee prohibits the authors from making the minimal data set publicly available because data contain potentially identifiable information. However, data are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request. Data will be held for five years from February 2017 before being permanently destroyed. Contact:

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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