Living Streets’ Walk to School Week is 21 to 25 May 2012

May 18th, 2012 by Living Streets

Amherst Primary School children walk to school wearing high visibility jackets donated by Goldridge Estate Agents (click image to expand - ©Chris George)

British children are more familiar with being strapped into a car seat than putting on a pair of trainers and going for a walk, according to national charity Living Streets at the launch of Walk to School Week from 21 to 25 May 2012.

Parents are risking the health and well-being of their kids by relying on the car rather than taking to their feet.

Research shows that the number of children travelling to school by car over the past 20 years has doubled, with the proportion of children walking to school regularly reaching its lowest level ever.

Just 47% of primary school-aged kids now walk to school, with the figure falling to a paltry 36% amongst secondary school pupils.

It’s unsurprising therefore that the UK Government’s Chief Medical Officers state that 68% of boys and 76% of girls aged between 2 years and 15 years do not meet the minimum recommendation of an hour of moderate physical activity per day, resulting in exposure to health risks such as obesity, weak bones and future heart disease.

Anecdotal research also suggests that many children are no longer taught basic life skills such as how to cross the road safely.

Living Streets wants national Walk to School Week to highlight the benefits that walking can have for young people and their parents and kick start the walking habit. By increasing physical activity, improving life and social skills, reducing congestion around the school gate and saving on fuel costs.

Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Living Streets said “walking to school is a brilliant way to get some physical activity and some fresh air into a child’s day. When children are bundled from front door to car door, they miss out on the opportunity to socialise with friends, get to know their community, and burn off some energy before getting their heads down in the books.

“We’re urging families up and down the country to give it a go during Walk to School Week this year. We think you’ll be amazed at what a difference a short blast of fresh air can do for you. It’s free, green and easy and above all it works. Schools which have adopted our own Walk Once a Week scheme have recorded higher incidence of walking than the national average. We need to encourage children to get walking now and set healthy habits for the future.”

Visit the Walk to School website for classroom challenge packs, information about setting up park and stride schemes and even free lesson plans.

(click on logo to go to Walk to School website)

 

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