On Wednesday, Oct. 5 Fairfax County Public Schools are celebrating International Walk and Bike to School Day. Events are planned at several schools to encourage kids and their parents to walk and bike to school on that day. Elementary children living within a mile of school and middle and high school kids living within a mile and a half are expected to walk or bike to school.
Living near three schools, I know that often doesn't happen. Many parents drive their kids to school, causing traffic congestion and air pollution around the schools. Teachers must devote time to coordinating kiss-and-ride activities for kids that already have either a seat on the bus or could walk or bike.
In 1969, approximately 50 percent of children walked or bicycled to school. Eighty-seven percent of children living within one mile of school walked or biked.
Today, fewer than 15 percent of schoolchildren walk or bicycle to school. As a result, kids today are less active, less independent, and less healthy.
The US Department of Health and Human Services says overweight and obesity in children are significant public health problems in the United States. Walking and biking to school are simple ways to get daily exercise while developing lifelong healthy habits. It also allows kids to become more independent and gives them a chance to socialize with other kids outside of school.
If you have a safe route to get to school, why not join your kids in their trip to school by walking or biking with them on International Walk and Bike to School Day? See the Fairfax Safe Routes to School Facebook page for information on developing safer routes to school. See also the Fairfax Public Schools Page on walking and biking to school.