It's no secret that in today's high-tech society, many of the activities popular with children involve very little physical activity. Add to this the fact that a greater number of children are driven to school and events rather than walking with friends or family, and it's no surprise that there been a significant increase in the rates of obesity in young people.
This lack of activity not only effects weight levels but also fosters chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, psychological issues (such as depression) and in some cases, particular cancers. It has been scientifically observed that healthy and active children live better and learn better, and grow up to be more healthy and active adults.
With this knowledge in mind, Walk Safely to School Day (WSTSD) was established in NSW in 1999 and is now an annual event held at the end of May each year, with the specific date varying according to the school calendar.
As well as addressing childhood health issues, there are a number of other primary goals involved in the Walk Safely to School Day event, including:
Reducing traffic congestion in and around schools
Easing global warming and climate change
Reducing car-dependency and enlightening parents and carers on an alternative way to travel
Teaching children healthy lifestyle habits that will last a lifetime
The event provides a golden opportunity to promote the benefits of walking for health and well being as well as for the environment.
Those who can't walk the whole way are asked to combine a walk with public transport or to park the car a good distance away from the school and walk the rest of the way.
WSTSD is a community event which seeks to promote Road Safety, Health, Public Transport and the Environment and will be held this year on May 24th around the country. Essentially it is a national community awareness and communication initiative which drives and supports local level action by schools, parents, businesses and the community.