Calls are being made for more primaries in Glasgow to adopt a sports initiative that has “transformed” the health of youngsters in a Scottish school.

Sports leaders and public health officials in Glasgow would like to see more pressure exerted on primary schools to introduce the Daily Mile, where youngsters walk or run a mile every day.

The 15-minute initiative was pioneered at St Ninians Primary in Stirling in March 2012 and despite rising obesity rates across the UK, the school says no pupils are overweight and have described the effects as “transformative.”

In November last year, Health Secretary Shona Robison said she would be writing to every school in Scotland to encourage them to introduce the Daily Mile or similar approaches.

However, only a handful of city schools – including Glasgow Gaelic School and Jordanhill School – have taken up the daily run, although similar schemes have been introduced.

Earlier this week the Evening Times revealed new figures showing that a quarter of children are already overweight by the age of two and a half, and 5% are obese.

Susan McDonald, who represented Scotland and Great Britain in track and cross country, said she was “absolutely” in favour of the scheme being rolled out to all primary schools.

The former athlete launched a junior jogging network in Renfrewshire as part of Active Communities, formerly known as Jogging Buddies.

She said: “It’s such a simple thing to do and even if the children walk they are getting the benefit of the fresh air.

“The schools that are doing it in the morning are also seeing such an improvement in the mood of the children.

“Ralston Primary in Paisley is doing it and a lot of the parents have said how much the children are enjoying it.”

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of Public Health at NHSGGC, said: “Initiatives such as the Daily Mile can play a role in making sure that young people not only take part in exercise, but do it in a fun way that encourages them to lead active lifestyles.”

Around 500 primaries across Britain have adopted the Daily Mile scheme and researchers from the universities of Stirling and Edinburgh are currently examining its impact.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said there were no plans to make the initiative “compulsory” and it was up to individual schools whether they participate.

She added: “It is important to say that Glasgow is one of the highest performing local authorities in terms of government targets on providing two hours of physical education each week

“We have an active schools team that works across primary and secondary schools to promote sport and physical activity.”

Research has shown that children who are overweight in primary school are less likely to revert to a healthy weight in later life than pre-school children.

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