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BikeWalkKC and MARC encourage participation in Walk to School Day

International Walk to School Day is Oct. 9, and BikeWalkKC and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) have joined forces to provide resources to individuals who would like information about improving walking to school at WalktoSchoolKC.com.

Today’s kids are the first generation in American history with a shorter life expectancy than their parents, largely because they are getting less physical activity in their daily lives. Parents can sign up online to take the pledge to walk with their kids to school.

Encouraging children to walk or bike to school is a way to instill in them the active habits that can contribute to a lifelong healthy lifestyle. But in addition to health benefits, there are also intangible benefits. Many parents who have participated in a Walk to School Day or Bike to School Day say that the active trip to school has been a valuable way for them to spend time with their children and to socialize with other parents and neighbors.

Walking and biking to school is a great way to incorporate daily physical activity and improve your child’s health, and the need to get kids walking to school has never been stronger. Some key statistics include:

• In 1969, half of all kids walked to school. Today that number is less than 15%

• Today, nearly one in three young people are either obese or overweight

• The child obesity rate is four times greater among children ages 6-11 than it was a generation ago (the same rate has tripled for adolescents ages 12-19)

• Only one-third of children are getting the recommended level of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day

• Up to 30% of morning traffic comes from parents driving their kids to school, and traffic crashes are the top cause of injury and death to US kids under 18.

The website also lists ways schools can be involved, such as hosting walking school buses, assemblies and rallies, mileage clubs, bike trains and traffic safety lessons. Visit WalktoSchoolKC.com for more information.

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