National wants to force all school kids to exercise 15 minutes a day

National wants to make it compulsory for all school kids to exercise for 15 minutes each day in an attempt to combat New Zealand's shocking obesity rates.

According to a recent Unicef report, 39 percent of Kiwi kids are classified as overweight or obese.

National is proposing to roll out the 'Daily Mile' programme in every school nationwide within five years. It involves kids running or walking around a kilometre-and-a-half.

So far, 14 schools are already taking part, like Birdwood School in west Auckland.

Teacher Kevin Meikle says students have become more enthusiastic about exercising.

"You just ask them to get their heart beating a little faster, I've seen it progress where students have been the ones walking then after a few weeks they're the ones that are jogging."

Meikle says it can take a little encouragement but the kids eventually love it.

The idea will be released as part of National's health proposals on Thursday.

According to ExerciseNZ, only seven percent of five to 17-year-olds are currently getting the recommended 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity - which is one of the worst in the world.

A 2017 University of Auckland study found children and teenagers struggling with weight issues had low levels of physical activity. A third spent more than three hours a day outside of school hours watching TV or other screens.

At the moment, the Ministry of Health's childhood obesity plan is made up of 22 initiatives with the B4 School Check as its centrepiece.

The B4 School Check is a nationwide programme offering a free checkup for four-year-olds. Carried out by a registered nurse, children will have their "general health and development" checked, including their height and weight. This is then used to calculate the child's BMI (body mass index).

If a child's BMI means they're considered overweight, they are referred to a health professional for further treatment and interventions.