If you’re a reader of this blog, you already know that October is National Walk to School Month, and October 3 was National Walk to School Day. These promotional events encourage children, parents, teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a worldwide event as they celebrate the many benefits of walking and bicycling. Encouraging walking through these events allows kids to boost their physical activity levels, drivers see a relief from traffic congestion on local streets, and local leaders consider the need for street improvements to make walking and biking a safe option for more children.
America Bikes’ blog has a national roundup of some of the news coverage of events from around the country, and also notes a number of important benefits of encouraging kids to walk and bike to school:
- Walking to school doesn’t just make kids happy — it eases the morning commute for drivers. Parents dropping their kids off at school account for a full 25% of morning traffic. When students and their families walking or biking to school instead of driving, streets see less traffic. Less traffic means fewer costly repaving and maintenance projects, too.
- As levels of walking and biking to school have fallen, childhood obesity has skyrocketed. In 1969, nearly 50% of all kids walked or rode bikes to school. Today, only 13% of children get to school on foot or by bike. Meanwhile, the percent of obese children rose 276% between 1966 and 2009. Kids who walk or bike to school are more physically active and less likely to be obese than their peers who are driven or bused to school.
Did your school plan something for October? Register it here so New Jersey can get as many events on its list as possible. If you have an event but don’t want to register it yourself, don’t worry — GMTMA can register it for you, just contact us.
And if you don’t have an event planned yet, it’s never too late. GMTMA can help you get a single event or a full-blown walking program off the ground. Contact GMTMA for more information today!