Spar has been unveiled as a third primary sponsor of the Daily Mile initiative which encourages schools to create opportunities for children to get active on a daily basis.

They join INEOS and Irish Life Health in backing the scheme that has seen 145,000 children take part over the past twelve months.

“I can see how this generation of schoolchildren really needed this,” said Daily Mile ambassador Frank Greally.

“We were sitting on a time-bomb and we had to take action. It’s just 15 minutes a day, but it makes such as significant difference.”

“We had over 800 schools sign up within the first year and the response from parents and teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Physical inactivity has significant implications, costing our annual health budget €1.5 Billion according to the Irish Government. Research indicates that 16 percent of 5-12 year olds in Ireland are overweight or obese, a shocking statistic when the dangers and lifelong impact are now so clearly known.

“Children today being the first in humanity not to outlive their parents because of poor lifestyle and inactivity,” according to Professor Niall Moyna, Head of the School of Health and Human Performance at DCU.

The Daily Mile is now aiming to build on the success of the last 12 months, and wants every school in Ireland to register and get involved.

This will be assisted by the backing of official partners INEOS, Irish Life Health, and SPAR, who have come on board to offer support in increasing awareness of the movement.

This will complement funding from Healthy Ireland and Tomas Trust, as well as the work being done by Local Sports Partnerships around the country in promoting The Daily Mile.

“The key to the success of The Daily Mile is that there is no extra workload for teachers, and no need for kit or special equipment,” added Greally.

“Children take part in whatever they’re wearing. More than 9,500 schools are already registered for The Daily Mile in over 60 countries, and the research from The Daily Mile Foundation has pointed to numerous benefits for children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

Sean Hehir is an athlete and a teacher at Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál in Inchicore, where yesterday’s announcement took place.

“Being from an athletics background myself, I can vouch for the positive effect daily exercise has on your day to day mental health and wellbeing,” he said.

“You can see a noticeable difference in the attentiveness and focus in the children after they’ve engaged in the 15 minutes of exercise. It’s something that should become the norm in every classroom across Ireland.”

“The Daily Mile movement really is something special, and it’s great to have partners who are so passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of the children of Ireland,” said Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland.

“We are delighted to welcome SPAR on board, and we must also thank INEOS, Irish Life Health, Tomar Trust, Healthy Ireland, and our Local Sport Partnerships for their continued commitment to improving the health and fitness of the children of Ireland.”

“A core principle of The Daily Mile is that it remains free and fully accessible to any school or child that would like to take part. This is made possible by the support of its partners and supporters.”

“SPAR is passionate about exercise and encouraging healthier lifestyles for young people,” said Sales D SPAR Retailers are enthusiastic about supporting the communities they serve and are delighted to be supporting The Daily Mile, which is specifically aimed at primary school children aged between 5-12 years of age. We are committed to seeing the movement promoted right across the country through the support of our local community based retailers.”

The Daily Mile will be further highlighted at the upcoming Dublin Sportsfest which takes place from 23rd – 29th September 2019, coinciding with the European Week of Sport. Dublin City is calling on all schools in the City area in September to sign up to the Daily Mile. There will be a launch at Irishtown Stadium on the 23rd of September where a select number of schools will be invited to attend.