The NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS YOUTH FUND fuels the efforts of the American Running Association (ARA) and its professional arm, the American Medical Athletic Association (AMAA), to expand the outreach of NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS (www.runamile.org). The goal of this youth fitness program is to be the kick-start for all boys and girls to begin a life of healthy activity using the mile as the starting point.
NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS (NRAMD) started in a few elementary schools with enterprising AMAA physicians urging their local educators to do a simple program for all students. NRAMD aims to motivate and encourage all students, not simply the fit and fastest. Running the mile brings smiles and pride to many kids from kindergarten to middle school. For many of the kids who participate, this is their gold medal event.
Over 30 percent of children ages six to 11 are overweight, 15 percent are obese, and three out of five children ages nine to 13 don't participate in sports or other coached physical activities outside of school. These overweight and unfit children are more likely to remain unhealthy in adulthood and have an increased risk for developing life-threatening medical conditions such as Type II diabetes and heart disease.
In 2007, AMAA and the ARA joined forces to combat the growing epidemic of overweight youth in the United States. Children as young as kindergartners and up through middle school are the target age groups as they are the most vulnerable to non-healthy lifestyle choices.
A grassroots campaign was initiated in local communities and schools to encourage more kids to run. The mile distance was chosen as the good starting or kickstarter point. Training plans and an Operations Guide for segmented age groups or classes in elementary and middle school were developed and distributed. We wanted to keep it simple to execute. AMAA and ARA tied everything into a culminating mile event, the NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS.
The NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS YOUTH FUND provides training plans, posters, flyers, and an Operation Guide for teachers and schools. Select schools and communities receive “MILER” t-shirts. With each mile, AMAA and ARA are striving to "Get Kids Fit, One Step at a Time." To learn more about the program, go to www.runamile.org.