SCHOOL is miles better at keeping you fit say the kids at St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School in Haslingden.

That's after teachers introduced mile long jogs into the school day in a bid to curb childhood obesity.

Headteacher Donna McNicoll said the results of the new fitness regime have been 'incredible' and has observed pupils looking 'a lot trimmer and fitter'.

The latest Government figures show that the prevalence of obesity in reception age children and those in year six in Haslingden is 11 per cent, which is higher than the nine per cent England average.

Mrs McNicoll acknowledged that the issue had been getting worse in recent years and hoped her programme would reverse the trend.

She said: "I was starting to become concerned about obesity at St Mary's so we decided to do something about it.

"We introduced the jogs eight weeks ago and the results have been amazing, when we started some of the children were huffing and puffing but now a lot of them want to do two miles.

"I have definitely noticed that pupils are looking trimmer and fitter and teachers have noted that they are more alert during class."

As an incentive to keep up with the mile a day regime pupils are awarded a coloured wristband when they reach 13miles, a second when they reach 26 and a third when they get to 52.

Mrs McNicoll added: "The focus is on fitness not competition but the children are really on board, about 40 are already on 13miles and the majority want to get to the marathon and ultra marathon distance."

Classes at the school are on a rota and pupils take it in turns to head out and complete the 16 laps of the playground during the day.

Mrs McNicoll said: "The children are out no more than 20minutes with a teacher, not only is it helping pupils to lose weight but when they get back in the classroom they are a lot more attentive.

"We have received a lot of support from parents and we are now looking at further targeting weight with healthy eating."

In a bid to tackle the issue of obesity in youngsters the Government launched a childhood obesity plan last summer.

In the plan health bosses claimed that if chocolate bar sizes were shrunk and levels of sugar in many popular products were slashed there would be a 20 per cent reduction in the number of children who are overweight.