INCREASING numbers of schools in Bradford are signing up for a fitness initiative to get more children exercising on a daily basis.

The 'Daily Mile' started in Scotland and has spread across the UK with 29 schools in the district so far taking part.

It sees pupils running or walking a mile-long route, either on a playing field, pathway or school playground, everyday.

Yesterday, Elaine Wyllie, who founded the scheme, spoke at the Active Bradford conference held at the University of Bradford.

She said that despite the simplicity of the scheme, it had halved childhood obesity in some schools, and even led to improved SATs results when pupils ran their mile before exams.

Mrs Wyllie told the Telegraph & Argus that the scheme could help tackle Bradford’s childhood obesity problem, as well as giving children who live in some inner city areas a safer way to get active.

The conference, called The Power of an Active School, was attended by school representatives.

Mrs Wyllie said that in parts of Scotland where the Daily Mile was introduced there was a difference in life expectancy of up to 15 years for people living in different areas of the same cities.

Parts of Bradford face similar health inequality issues, and many children in inner city areas do not have access to sporting facilities.

She added: “Bradford is the perfect place for the Daily Mile.

"In some areas parent might not let their children out of the house to play because it is not safe for various reasons.

"We’ve already seen lots of Bradford schools embracing it and we’d love to see more. Regular physical activity can make a huge difference in the lives of children.

“With this you don’t need any special facilities or equipment, and it is no extra cost, schools don’t even need to have a field, they can do it on their playground - most schools have some space that can be used.

“It can really improve access to PE. In Stirling in Scotland it has halved obesity levels in some schools in young children, and by a third in older children.

“It really helps children take responsibility for for their own health.

"Parents might not always be able to afford taking them to a leisure centre, or know how best to make sure their children are active, but every child goes to school and can take part in this.

“It is doing well in Bradford because there is a real political will from Bradford Council to see it work, and several sports stars are behind it too. Everyone is very keen to raise the amount of physical activity in schools.”