All the kids are included all of the time, with heart rates monitored to ensure the correct physical work rates.
And the results? Whereas across the US as a whole almost 40 per cent of children are overweight, in this Naperville school that figure is just 3 per cent.
Not only that but, in 1999, 98 per cent of the students took the TIMSS test – the international science and maths tests – and they came top in the world in science and sixth in maths, even though they were spending 45 minutes a day devoted to physical fitness.
Inspired by this example, a school in Copenhagen, Denmark, trialled a four-month scheme where 250 children in senior high school took part in a very vigorous fitness programme for 45 minutes each day. There was subsequently a 40 per cent increase in attendance, a decrease in discipline problems, and academic results improved by a whole grade and a half on average over the four months.