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AMA encourages kids (and parents) to walk to school

23 May 2013

National Walk Safely To School Day, Friday 24 May 2013

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the AMA is encouraging families to participate in this Friday’s National Walk Safely to School Day to help establish ongoing physical activity patterns for their children.

In its 14th year, National Walk Safely to School Day - an initiative of the Pedestrian Council of Australia - promotes safe pedestrian behaviour and the health and environmental benefits of walking by asking parents and carers to walk to school with their children.

Dr Hambleton said that a lot of kids would like to walk to school but busy family schedules or safety concerns make it necessary for the parents to drop the kids off at school by car.

“It would be great if parents or carers could take the time – even a day every now and then – to make the effort to walk to school with their kids,” Dr Hambleton said.

“It would set a healthy example and give parents the chance to observe first hand any hazards or potential dangers along the school walk route.

“The walk could also involve organising groups of kids from the same neighbourhood to walk to school together to ease safety concerns, build companionship, and enjoy simple, enjoyable outdoor exercise with a purpose – getting to and from school.

“It will also prevent kids from spending too much time watching television or playing with electronic devices.”

“This Friday’s National Walk Safely To School Day is the perfect opportunity to get started,” Dr Hambleton said.

According to National Physical Activity recommendations, children and young people should be participating in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day (more is better).

It is also recommended that children and young people should not spend more than two hours a day using electronic media for entertainment, particularly during daylight hours.

Along with the health benefits, National Walk Safely to School Day provides an opportunity for parents and schools to speak with students about pedestrian safety, including using footpaths where appropriate, looking both ways, and crossing at pedestrian crossings.

Children walking to school with MP3 players or smart phones need to be instructed to pay attention to traffic so they should turn their headphones, music or other sound down whenever they are near roads or cycleways.

23 May 2013

CONTACT:         John Flannery                       02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761

                            Kirsty Waterford                  02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753

Published: 23 May 2013