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Walk To School This Wednesday
Written by October 6, 2008

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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Walk To School This Wednesday

On October 8th – this Wednesday – thousands of children in America will burn extra calories walking or biking to school for Walk To School Day.  For some of us boomers, walking to school was a daily “workout.”  In fact, in 1969, 42 percent of students walked to school.  In 2001 (the most recent year for which data are available), only 16 percent of kids walked to school.  Hmmm.  Childhood obesity rates have soared since the ‘60s and ‘70s.  Wonder if there is a connection?

Walk to School Day is a part of an international movement (pun intended) to encourage healthier habits, promote safer streets, and to take action to pollute less.  With today’s high gas prices, walking to school can save a little money as well. 

Walk to school?  “I don’t have time to walk my child to school.” “It’s not safe.”  “It is too far.”  These are common reason people give for not taking steps to make walking – to school or otherwise – a part of their daily routine.  Before you let these excuses keep you in your car in the drop off queue at your child’s school, take a look at the wonderful information provided at the International Walk to School in the USA web site.  There you will find information on how to:

  • plan a walk to school event at your school (including partnering with others and classroom activity ideas), 
  • network with other schools to see what they are doing,
  • use ready-to-go promotional materials including banners, flyers, and a media toolkit, and
  • locate other related resources

Additional background information is provided in this comprehensive “Talking Points” document.

With only two days before this year’s Walk To School Day, it may be tough to plan an event.  So simply walk your own child/grandchild/neighbor kid to school on Wednesday.  If even that is too much for this week, the entire month of October has been designated International Walk to School Month so you can create your own Walk To School Day (or Days!) later this month.  In fact, why not make walking or biking to school a year-round activity?

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