Walk safely to school this Friday

Released 20/05/2015

Minister Shane Rattenbury today joined Lucille Bailie, Chief Executive Officer of the Physical Activity Foundation and students from Hughes Primary School to promote National Walk Safety to School Day, which will be held this Friday, May 22.

“National Walk Safely to School Day is held every year and aims to raise awareness of the health and environmental benefits of walking to and from school and promote road safety awareness,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“It’s really important that we engage children early with activities that promote healthy lifestyles and help them to form good habits for life.  Walking or riding to school is an easy way to stay active and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.”

Harold Scruby, Chairman and CEO of the Pedestrian Council of Australia said that unless teachers, parents, carers and the community generally get behind this event and its objectives, the outlook for Australia’s children is not good.

“We know that for many parents getting their children to school and themselves to work can feel like a real headache,” Mr Scruby said.
“Sometimes parents feel they just don’t have the time to walk with their children to school. But we've found that parents often don’t realise just how long the school run takes in the car, especially when you allow for traffic jams and parking hassle. We also know that people often overestimate the time it takes to walk and underestimate the time it takes to drive. You may well find that walking takes no longer than driving, so why not give it a go?”

Physical Activity Foundation Chief Executive Officer Lucille Bailie said that riding or walking to school is a simple and fun way for kids to work towards their daily target of 60 minutes of physical activity.

"Walking to school each day can be fun plus it’s actually a great preventative health measure that can help kids avoid chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer which we know can result from childhood overweight and obesity,” said Ms Bailie

Hughes Primary School is one of 52 ACT schools committed to the Ride or Walk to School Program which aims to increase the number of students using active travel through the delivery of a range of educational and practical elements for teachers and students, from road safety and bike maintenance, to bike storage, self-defence and BMX workshops.

Schools are encouraged to participate in regular events like National Walk Safely to School Day to get the whole school community thinking about how they can change their behaviour to get themselves and young people active.

The Ride or Walk to School Program contributes to the ACT Government's Healthy Weight Initiative and is implemented in schools by the Physical Activity Foundation with funding and support from ACT Health.

- Statement ends -

Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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