The Department of Transportation is urging kids to walk or bike to school and asking parents to take the lead. MoDOT’s Safe Routes to School program is part of a national initiative to get kids to walk or bike to school each day. Coordinator John Schaefer says it’s good for the brain and the body.
The number one priority though, is safety. He says parents should always go along at first, pointing out safe paths and landmarks, as well as other points of interest, what’s commercial versus private. He says parents should also take their child’s trustworthiness into consideration, pointing out there’s no magic age when kids are ready to do it alone.
Schaefer says parents can check with their local law enforcement for information on safe routes to school.
Health professionals say it not only builds healthy bodies, but also improves kids’ self-image and autonomy, leading to healthy social and emotional development.
National statistics show that more than half of young people aged 12 to 21 in U.S. are not active on a regular basis; officals say getting children to walk or bike to school each day is one way to ensure they get daily exercise. Nearly 15 percent of America’s youth report no recent physical activity. The percent of overweght children has more than doubled since 1980.
Schaefer agrees, saying kids who walk or bike to school not only are physically healthier, but are more mentally balanced to begin their day, and to wind down after classes have ended.
Several Missouri communities have recieved grants to make infrastructure improvements to make walking and biking to school safer and better.
The KidsWalk-to-School program encourages physical activity as an integral part of a child’s daily routine. It assumes that teaching children the importance and pleasure of walking and bicycling to and from school may help to increase the likelihood that they will engage in other forms of physical activity.
Here are some of the potential benefits of regular physical activity for children:
Builds and maintains healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
Helps control weight, build lean muscle and reduce fat.
Improves sense of self-image and autonomy.
Fosters healthy social and emotional development.
In addition, preliminary data show that physical activity may improve academic performance and alertness in youth.
with modot right now were working woth the safe routes to school program to promote — national initiative — safety and ability for children to walk to school.
modot helped devt the program for missouri,
coordinate with local and other state agencies,
[walkers1] :17 “…lifesyles as well.”
[walkers2] :15 “…or bike to school.”
[walkers3] :20 “…on safety.”
[walkers4] :17 “…of the child.”
[walkers5] :11 “…as well.”
John Schaefer, safe routes to school coordinator for MoDOT