On Friday 17 May, children from across Australia will put their feet first, and journey towards a healthier future by participating in the 20th anniversary of National Walk Safely to School Day.
The annual event raises awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking (especially to and from school) can provide for the long term wellbeing of children. Apart from the physical benefits, regular walking also has a favourable impact on their cognitive and academic performance.
The day encourages primary school aged children to build walking into their daily routine, by walking to and from school, not just on Friday 17 May, but every day.
Harold Scruby, Chairman and CEO of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, said that physical inactivity is a major risk factor for so many chronic diseases that can affect our kids at different stages of their life, including mental illness, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
“Primary school aged children across Australia – it’s time to get walking! One in 4 children in Australia is overweight or obese, and it is expected that numbers will reach 1 in 3 by next year,” Mr Scruby said.
“We really need teachers, parents, carers and the community at large to get behind this event and its objectives, the best exercise for all of us is regular walking. Children require at least 60 minutes 'huff and puff' physical activity every day.
“We should encourage them to include walking at the beginning, during and end of each day – if you can’t walk all the way, use public transport and get off the bus or train a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to school.”
National Walk Safely to School Day also encourages parents and carers to walk more, reducing dangerous traffic congestion around schools, better use of public transport with reduced car-dependency and the vitally important road safety message. "Until they are 10, children must always hold the hand of an adult when crossing the road," Mr Scruby said.
|WHAT:||National Walk Safely to School Day|
|WHEN:||Friday 17 May 2019|
|WHERE:||In all primary schools across Australia|
|WHY:||This national initiative aims to encourage children to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle by simply including a walk at the beginning, at lunchtime and at the end of each day. The event also promotes reduced car-dependency, greater use of public transport, cleaner air, improved diets and road safety to primary school children throughout Australia.|
|HOW:||Encourage children to build regular walking in their daily routine by walking to, during, and from school.|
In the Media
Illawarra Mercury, 16 May 2019 – 'St Paul's Catholic Primary School participates in National Walk Safely to School Day'