Primary children in Dundee could soon be asked to put down their pencils and pump some iron during daily 15-minute workouts.
A programme aimed at reducing child obesity levels in young children, Daily 15, has already been piloted with success in four Dundee schools.
Plans to roll out the project to all the city’s primary schools are being recommended for approval at the children and family services committee meeting next Monday at Dundee City Council.
Figures show more than a quarter – 26.9% – of children in Dundee are at risk of being overweight or obese by the time they reach primary one.
Daily 15 is aimed at reducing this figure by getting pupils to do non-stop physical activity in 15-minute bursts.
As part of the programme, pupils take part in sessions of non-stop active exercise three times a week.
These sessions are often presented as games, including running, swinging, hopping, skipping, circuits or traditional sport activities.
Teachers are being encouraged to create their own games using flash cards, such as fitness bingo, dice rolling exercises, dance challenges or yoga poses.
Stewart Hunter, the council’s children and families services convener, said: “The Daily 15 is already in place in four schools and we’ve seen such great success with it that we’re keen to roll it out to all schools as soon as possible.
“We will look at doing it in stages to ensure we are delivering the best product possible and build on what we’ve achieved so far. We also want to make sure we’ve ironed out any teething problems, rather than rushing it out to everyone in one go.”
Claypotts Castle Primary, Craigiebarns Primary, St Mary’s RC Primary and St Ninian’s RC Primary were the four schools involved in the pilot.
The plan is to roll the project out to a further four schools after the committee’s approval, then to extend it to all of the city’s primaries by the end of the year.
Mr Hunter added: “The benefits are more than just the obvious health benefits.
“Schools which have already taken part say that they’re seeing happier kids, improved attendance and better concentration and engagement.
“They also say they’ve noticed improved relationships between teachers and pupils as they are bonding through the teachers doing these activities too.”
Audrey White, senior officer of health and wellbeing for the council, added: “The key aspect of the programme is to try to lower obesity levels and promote a healthy weight in children.
“Teachers were also telling us that children sometimes experience a lag in the afternoon, when their concentration levels start to drop.
“By asking pupils to stop what they are doing and go outside for a 15-minute brain-break to do something physical, these teachers are noticing that when the children come back to class they are more focused, calmer and less restless.”
It is up to head teachers to take up the offer as it is not a compulsory part of the curriculum.
St Pius, Ardler, Camperdown and Barnhill primaries are currently testing the initiative.