By Mitchell Clarke
Stepping up to the challenge by taking part in October’s Walk to School event, kids from more than 18 schools across Cardinia shire ditched the car and donned the runners as they made their way to school.
Last year’s Walk to School winners, Lang Lang Primary School, were joined by Cardinia Shire Council mayor Graeme Moore, who launched the 2019 event and encouraged all families across the shire to walk, skate or scoot to school where possible.
“Participating in Walk to School is a fun, social and healthy way for kids and families to incorporate being active into their everyday lives,” Cr Moore said.
“Getting to school in an active way is great for getting the body and brain ready for a productive day. It’s also a great social activity for families, and has many health benefits.”
For families who wish to partake in Walk to School but do not live within walking distance from their school, council is encouraging the use of ‘Stop and Drop zones’.
Stop and Drop zones are signposted locations which are situated up to a kilometre away from the school, where parents are encouraged to park and walk with their children to school.
Statistics from the Walk to School team indicate 84 percent of parents believe walking to school is good for kids’ health while 78 percent believe walking to school helps their kids develop independence.
But only one in five kids between five and 17 years old get the recommended one hour of physical activity every day, with childhood obesity levels on the rise, it’s predicted that one in three children will be overweight or obese by 2025.
VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said these statistics showed how critical it was for parents to encourage their kids to become more active.
“In Victoria, we know many children aren’t getting the recommended hour of physical activity each day and being active on the journey to and from school is a great way for kids to get moving,” Dr Demaio said.
“We understand families live busy lives or aren’t able to walk the entire way to and from school, so we’re encouraging parents or carers to park the car a few blocks from school and walk the rest – they may even save time by avoiding traffic jams around schools.”
Meanwhile, students unable to walk to school are encouraged to complete laps of the school basketball court or oval before school.
The VicHealth campaign has been supported by Cardinia Shire Council since 2010, with Cr Moore proud to be involved in the initiative.
“Council is proud to be supporting and facilitating VicHealth’s Walk to School campaign in Cardinia Shire for the ninth year running,” he said.
“Last year we saw over 7000 local students walk, ride, skate or scoot to school in October – let’s see if we can beat that record this year!”