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Walking to school, all good

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The Pedestrian Council of Australia is calling on Queensland kids to put down their iPads and get walking by participating in national Walk Safely to School Day on Friday, May 18. It’s a good habit to get into as Australia nudges the top of the fattest nation league table.

Now in its 19th year, national Walk Safely to School Day reminds Queensland families that regular walking also has a favourable impact on their kids’ cognitive and academic performance. In fact, physical exercise enhances kids’ information processing, memory, concentration and behaviour – which together improves their overall academic performance.

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman and CEO Harold Scruby reminds us that physical inactivity is a major risk factor for many diseases that can affect our kids at different stages of their lives including mental illness, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

“One in four children in Australia are overweight or obese,” Scruby says, “and it is expected that number will reach one in three by 2020.

“We really need teachers, parents, carers and the community at large to get behind this event and its objectives. The best exercise for all of us is regular walking. Children require at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity. We should encourage them to include walking at the beginning, during and end of each day.”

National Walk Safely to School Day is a community initiative that aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking (especially to and from school) can provide for the long term wellbeing of children.

The national initiative also promotes improved diets, positive environmental action, better use of public transport with reduced car-dependency and the vitally important road safety message of “until they are 10, children must always hold the hand of an adult when crossing."

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