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South Norfolk

MP urges South Norfolk children to walk to school

IMAGE: A school crossingThis October South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon is encouraging pupils in his constituency to join thousands of children from across the UK and over 40 countries worldwide in celebrating the benefits of walking to school during International Walk to School Month.

Walking to school regularly is a great way to help reach the recommended daily 60 minutes of activity to benefit a child's health. Over the past two decades, the number of children who walk to school has dropped from 62% to 48%, with 43% being driven to school in cars - despite the fact that the majority of primary school pupils live within a mile and a half of their school. By encouraging families to ditch the car keys and get to school on foot, this Month will show that it’s not just PE lessons that are needed to give children the healthiest start in life - it's how active they are in their daily life that really matters.

Teachers often report that those pupils who walk to school are more attentive in class. And it's no surprise - the levels of physical activity of primary school age children are often greatly overestimated by parents. By simply walking to school and back each day, children will already be working towards reaching the 60 minutes of activity as recommended.

The Walk to School campaign is organised by a national charity, Living Street, which works to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets around the UK. The campaign encourages children, parents and teachers up and down the country to leave their cars at home and walk to school.

Mr Bacon said: "Walking to school is an excellent way to get some physical activity and fresh air. Children can also socialise with friends, get to know their community, and burn off some energy before burying their heads in school work. I'd encourage everyone in South Norfolk to fit in a bit more walking this October."

Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Living Streets said: "If we are to avoid the Government's prediction of a quarter of our children being obese by 2050, we need to start making changes to our lifestyle now. We would love everyone who normally drives the school run to use this month as an excuse to try walking. We think you'll be amazed at how enjoyable a regular walk can be; a chance to spend real quality time together, and reap health rewards for all the family.

12 October 2010